ruel fox ... off                                                                             

This article originally appeared in MEHSTG Issue 16 (August 2000)

For many, not even getting a  game in Tottenham Reserves would be a big drawback in their career.  For Ruel Fox, it didn't seem to matter that much.

His disappearance form the first team picture (even the new team photo for this season) was rapid and decisive.  He went from number 7 in the squad to nowhere on the chart; well, number 31, which is almost off the bottom.  It turned out to be number 31 with a bullet.

His appearances for the Reserves during last season were plodding and he appeared to be going through the motions and he was obviously on his way out of the club after George Graham had shut him out of the first eleven.  He did want first team football, but what we have read tells us that he wanted his cake with it.  Asking for a "loyalty" bonus to leave the club is like holding the fans to ransom.  Our money is what pays the wages (well, about 0.8% of them probably as TV money now pays the greater part) and why would we want it to go to someone leaving our team ?  It wasn't even as though Spurs were going to recoup most of the money they had splashed out on him all those years ago.

When he first joined Spurs it didn't seem like a bad signing.  Over priced yes, but his trickery against us had won Newcastle United a couple of games, so he looked as though he could help Tottenham to a few extra points.  It didn't really turn out like that though.  He had one good game against Arsenal in a 2-1 win a month after he arrived and he lived on that for a long time.  He failed to produce his wing magic that he had shown at Norwich and St. James' Park and subsequently became a worker down the line, like so many other anonymous players.  He did notch a few goals and his part in the "Vic Reeves thigh-rubbing" celebration at Coventry raised a few smiles, but overall he started to feel the rough edge of the fans tongues. 

The 1-3 defeat at Wimbledon at the start of the 1998-99 season saw the fans on his touchline give him a lot of stick and when he scored Spurs' consolation goal, he cupped his hand around his ear to the fans.  Not guaranteed to win friends.  From this point his confidence (or what was left of it) seemed to ebb out of him and he rarely went at full-backs with the intent of beating them.  His crosses started to come from deeper and deeper, while he wasn't looking to receive the ball at all.

His departure to West Bromwich Albion will see him play first team football again.  The club are in a slump and need to move forward, much like the position Ruel finds himself in.  He could have been a very good Premier League player, but he let his skill go to waste and he has had to step down, with his career reaching it's end.  A player who could have been somebody is now one who is just some Baggie.



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