Steve Fox (footballer)

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Steve Fox
Personal information
Full name Stephen Douglas Fox[1]
Date of birth (1958-02-17)17 February 1958[1]
Place of birth Tamworth, England
Date of death 1 December 2012(2012-12-01) (aged 54)
Playing position Winger
Youth career
Aston Villa
Tamworth
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1978 Birmingham City 29 (1)
1978–1982 Wrexham 142 (10)
1982–1984 Port Vale 74 (6)
1984–1985 Chester City 33 (4)
Rhyl
Llangollen
Tamworth
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Stephen Douglas "Steve" Fox (17 February 1958 – 1 December 2012) was an English professional footballer who played as a winger. He made 278 appearances in the Football League playing for Birmingham City, Wrexham, Port Vale and Chester City.

He was voted Wrexham's Player of the Year in 1981, and played for the club in the 1979 Welsh Cup final. Whilst with Port Vale he was promoted out of the Fourth Division in 1982–83, and was also voted onto the PFA Team of the Year.

Playing career[edit]

Fox was born in Tamworth, Staffordshire.[1] He began his football career as a schoolboy with Aston Villa before playing for local club Tamworth F.C. He joined Birmingham City as an apprentice in 1975, signing professional forms in February 1976.[2] He made his Football League debut a year later, as a substitute in a 2–1 defeat away to West Bromwich Albion in the First Division.[3] Despite The Times' reporter's view in April 1978 that "Fox looks a fine prospect",[4] the player was unable to hold down a regular first-team place, and joined Second Division club Wrexham in December the same year after manager Arfon Griffiths paid out a £95,000 fee.[2][5]

He spent nearly four years with Wrexham, during which time he helped the club to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on two occasions[6] and scored in the final of the Welsh Cup in 1979, in which Wrexham lost to Shrewsbury Town on aggregate.[7] He also played and scored for the club in the European Cup Winners' Cup.[8] At the end of the 1980–81 season he was voted the club's Player of the Year.[5] However he was allowed to leave the club due to pressing financial problems at Wrexham.[5] In 2008, the sports editor of the Wrexham Evening Leader selected Fox as a substitute in his "greatest Wrexham team ever".[9]

Fox joined Port Vale in October 1982 after being signed by manager John McGrath as a replacement for the outgoing Mark Chamberlain.[1] He was a regular first-team player in 1982–83, scoring three goals in 35 games, and was included in the PFA select Fourth Division team for that season as the "Valiants" were promoted in third place.[1] He also was a regular the following season, scoring three goals in 47 games, but issued a transfer request and left on a free transfer.[1] He had fallen out with new boss John Rudge, though he later admitted his regret at leaving Vale Park.[10] Rudge said that he "was a skilful wide man who would always create a lot of chances".[11]

Fox followed John McGrath to Chester City in 1984–85 and 1985–86,[12] although he would not feature for the club again after the opening game of the latter campaign against Halifax Town.[13] His contract was terminated in October 1985 after an argument with new manager Harry McNally.[14] This marked the end of his professional career and he moved into Non-League football with Rhyl (of the Northern Premier League), Llangollen and former club Tamworth.[2]

Post-retirement[edit]

After retiring as a player, Fox became a landscape gardener.[5] Fox and wife Helen had two children: Matthew and Daniel.[10] Fox was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2012, and was given six months to live by doctors.[10] He died on 1 December 2012.[15]

Honours[edit]

Individual
with Wrexham
with Port Vale

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 106. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9. 
  3. ^ Matthews, p. 212.
  4. ^ de Mesquita, Norman (26 April 1978). "Youngsters provide cheer as Bowles misses penalty". The Times. p. 9. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Tributes to former Wrexham FC player Steve Fox". Daily Post. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Wrexham". Football Club History Database. Richard Rundle. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Welsh Cup Final 1978/79". Welsh Football Data Archive. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Welsh Clubs in Europe: Wrexham 3–2 FC Magdeburg". Welsh Football Data Archive. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  9. ^ Harrison, Nick (7 January 2008). "The greatest Wrexham team ever – HAVE YOUR SAY". Wrexham Evening Leader. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c "Cancer stricken Steve Fox recalls the good times at Vale Park and his regret at leaving". The Sentinel. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Pearson, Guy (21 June 2012). "Messages of encouragement flood in for old boy Steve". The Sentinel. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Steve Fox". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  13. ^ Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885–1997. Yore Publications. p. stats section (85–86). ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  14. ^ Jones, Pete (2 December 2012). "RIP – Steve Fox". wrexhamafc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  15. ^ Sherwin, Phil (3 December 2012). "Steve Fox R.I.P.". Port Vale F.C. Retrieved 3 December 2012.