Ruel Adrian Fox (born 14 January 1968 in Ipswich) was a tiny, tricky winger who was very briefly one of the best in England. Commentators always referred to him by both names.
Despite growing up in Ipswich, Fox developed at East Anglia rivals Norwich City before finding fame in the mid 1990s with Tottenham and Newcastle United.
Fox was an old-school winger who weaved in and out of defenders like a New York taxi driver but couldn’t really shoot all that good. He became a key man during Newcastle United’s brief flirtation with silverware before joining Tottenham for £4.25m, which was loads of money in the days before any Carlos Kick-A-Ball was worth £7m.
He gained notoriety for his Premier League '94 Panini sticker being grossly overproduced to the extent that it was not uncommon to find five Ruel Fox stickers in any given pack, usually alongside an equally abundant Norwich City shiny.
Sadly Fox’s time in the spotlight was fleeting, as shortly after he signed for West Bromwich Albion his career rapidly disintegrated. A player of Fox’s ability today would have earned millions, but he wasn’t so lucky and was forced to open a restaurant in Ipswich.
However, E4 are currently in talks with Fox about a show called 'The Ruel of Law' in which the former winger plays himself as a fast-talking lawyer. 'It'll be like Ally McBeal, except with Ruel Fox,' a press release reads. The programme is set to air in September and will take the Friday 8pm slot after Friends and before Friends.
He played for Montserrat, who were named the worst national team in the world in 2006, and later took charge of recruiting players for the tiny nation.
Fox took out an advert in the Evening Standard which read: ‘Are you a top quality professional footballer? Do you suspect you may be from Montserrat? If so, phone forgotten man Ruel Fox (Yes, that Ruel Fox)’
Surprisingly, very few players came forward.
There is a celebrated story that Fox was locked in a St James’ Park toilet with fellow ex-Toon ace Les Ferdinand as a prank when he returned to play against Newcastle for Tottenham. To this day Fox has refused to comment, but he tends to give Ferdinand a wide berth.
Possibly due to the brevity of his name, Ruel Fox was always referred to by both Christian name and surname during commentary.
Even in the most high-pressured of situations a commentator would ensure that he yelled ‘Ruel Fox!’ rather than ‘Fox!’ - making it seem like he had a double-barrelled name like Gifton Noel-Williams. This was probably to avoid viewers or listeners believing an actual fox had invaded the pitch and whipped in a tantalising cross.