|Date Of Birth:||July 10 1936|
|Place Of Birth:||Holywell|
|Debut:||21-Aug-66, Shield, (a) Cork Celtic, 1-1|
It lasted less than two seasons but will forever be known as the ‘Fox’ era, with a new board, a new pitch, a new team, and a new player-manager. Although the new team was already signed by Paddy McCourt before Alan Fox arrived in the summer of 1966, he moulded them into the most formidable team in the land and led them to treble-trophy success in his first season.
An opening day draw was followed by eleven consecutive wins. By the middle of October the Shield was at Oriel Park, to be followed by the League Championship and, in the last match of the year, the Top Four Cup. It was the first week in January before Oriel Park saw its first and only season loss.
The crowds were back in force and even the new Oriel Park had difficulty in accommodating them. Fox fronted a defence that, in 39 of the season’s 49 games, confined the opposition to no more than one goal. As well as the Donegan cup, he lead the team to a successful summer tour to Barcelona, bringing home the Spanish Cup, bringing the season trophy haul to five plus two runner-up spots in the City Cup and Leinster Cup.
His second season had all the hallmarks of the first, with an early season highlight as Oriel Park hosted its first European game under the new floodlights. A 14-match unbeaten stretch from early December until the middle of February held out the promise of more silverware but the season then became clouded in controversy between Fox and the Board, leading to his departure at a crucial stage of the League. Before that he had delivered the City Cup to Oriel Park, having failed at the last hurdle in the same competition in his first year.
Within days of his departure he was with Limerick while a leaderless Dundalk stumbled their way to League runner up spot. Before the season ended a visit by Dundalk to the Markets Field in Limerick resulted in chaotic and confrontational scenes both on and off the field, and drew the following comment from the Limerick Chronicle: ‘One hopes that Sunday’s disgraceful scenes, which brought disgrace to our city, will never be repeated again’.
Alan stayed on as Limerick player-manager for the 1968-69 year. For the following year he joined Sligo, under player-coach Tony Bartley, but after their shock first round FAI Cup exit to non-League Longford Town, he returned to England.
After leaving school he took up work as a painter and decorator, playing at right half for his local team Carmel Utd. He signed with Wrexham as an amateur in May 1953, earned his Football League debut in April 1954 when only seventeen, having already been capped by Wales at Youth level on six occasions, and secured a full time professional contract. After two seasons with the reserves, and now playing at centre half, he got another first team opportunity and never looked back.
Over the next eight seasons he missed very few games. Along the way he was named on the initial Welsh squad for the 1958 World Cup and was capped in 1959 at under-23 level. He played a prominent role in Wrexham’s promotion from the Fourth Division in 1962-63.
During his ten-year stay at Wrexham he won three Welsh Cup winner’s medals. Released in 1964 he spent a season with Hartlepool and another with Bradford City. A recommendation to Dundalk secretary Paddy McCourt from PFA secretary Cliff Lloyd brought him to Dundalk for the glorious 1966-67 year.
After his short stay at Sligo he returned to Hartlepool, due to his daughter’s illness, and in spite of offers from America and Australia he never played again. For 20 years he worked with a local brewery and afterwards joined a company supplying welding equipment for oilrigs. He still lives in the Hartlepool area. His son Andrew was a professional footballer with Sunderland until he suffered five cartilage operations in one season.
In 2002 he was inducted into the inaugural Wrexham Hall of Fame. (Also honoured at the same time was Eddie May, an eight-season, 370-plus appearance Robin.) Alan remains very active in Wrexham’s football affairs, both with the Former Players Association (who have a very active programme in support of the club) and with the Supporters Association, of which he was elected President in 2006.
What They Said About Him
The press reports after the heroic 1 nil loss to the International-stuffed Vasas singled out Fox for his tactics "... the loss did not explode the tremendous tactics that Fox had brought in for the game. He and his men received a half-time standing ovation and the crowd was no less generous at the end. For Fox had shown that a League of Ireland side need not feel all that inferior to even the might of Hungarian football.."
‘Arguably the best centre half to have played for the club ‘ is the tribute from the author of The Racecourse Robins the Who’s Who of Wrexham FC, a sentiment that finds echoes in the views of his many Dundalk fans.
A peerless defender, Dessie Casey selects him as the best centre-half to play with Dundalk in the past 50 seasons.
4 wins: League, Shield and Top Four 1966-67; City Cup 1967-68.
4 Runners Up: League and Shield 1967-68; City Cup and Leinster Cup 1966-67.
1 League of Ireland cap
|English League Career|
|13 Seasons Totals||441||3|