Ex-Canary Ruel Fox looking for success at Portman Road
FOOTBALL: Ruel Fox has achieved much in football, but the Ipswich-born former star will take special satisfaction from a win at Portman Road tonight.
The former Norwich City, Newcastle United and Tottenham winger is now chairman and assistant manager of Whitton United, who take on Kershaw Cambridgeshire League Lakenheath in the final of the Suffolk Senior Cup (kick-off 7pm).
Ipswich’s most senior non-league club almost folded a couple of years back when they had to pull their first team out of the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League mid-campaign when a spell of mismanagement led to severe financial problems and a loss of players.
Thanks in no small part to Whitton boy Fox, the club is now back on its feet, and looking to make it a notable double by lifting the Senior Cup and gaining promotion back to the Premier Division.
Fox lives the other side of Colchester now, but he hasn’t lost his love for the area – or a club that for years was one of the top clubs in the county.
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Despite what he achieved at the top level of English football he will no doubt gain huge satisfaction out of seeing Whitton back as a footballing force again.
“Ruel has worked so hard,” said first team manager Ian Brown. “He’s a successful man and a great guy as well. And he’s a Whitton boy.”
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Brown, also a former professional and with two sons in the Whitton squad, sees continuing progress as more important than a win tonight.
He added: “Of course a win would be nice, and this is what we are going out to achieve.
“But just to get to the final is an accolade and one game will not make any difference to what has been achieved.
“We want to get promoted, and this is our main priority with all our remaining games like a cup final.
“I feel we can go up, and as for today – I want to enjoy the day and if we win it will make it even more enjoyable.”
Whitton have not had a league game for nine days, but will soon embark on a run of four games in eight days.
“I haven’t seen Lakenheath play, but I know they are a good side. They will be strong, organised and competitive, and will have to match that – and some,” said Brown.
Striker Chris Williams and midfielder Simon Hyde are both cup-tied – Williams played in the competition for Ransomes earlier this season and Hyde played in the Suffolk Premier Cup while with Hadleigh.
Otherwise Whitton have a full squad as they look to lift this coveted trophy for the first time in 16 years.
Olive Leaf, who were one of Ipswich’s top Sunday clubs in the latter part of the last century held a reunion night at Whitton’s clubhouse on Saturday night.
“We used to play in green and white and put up balloons,” said Olive Leaf’s Mick Banthorpe.
“We have kept them hanging up in the hope that they make Whitton’s after-match celebrations go with a swing.”
Whitton squad: Moyes, O Brown, Wade, A Clarke, Shade, J Clark, Josiah, Wright, J Brown, Inglis, Brandon, Duzgan, Nita, Noble, Gibson, Knott, De’Ath.
Whitton record in Suffolk Cup finals
Wins: 1958/59 Bungay 3-0, 1962/63 Bungay 3-0, 1991/92 Long Melford 2-0. Defeats: 1947/48 Lowestoft Town 3-1, 1994/95 Grundisburgh 2-0.