The long and rich history of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tom Fox, Peter Fox, Don Fox and Neil Fox

Today  we look at a family from Sharlston, who went onto world fame in rugby league.

Don, Peter and Neil
Tom Fox was a back-row forward who signed for Featherstone in 1931 from Sharlston. He had a modest career at Post Office Road spanning 26 games over four years, after making his debut in a memorable 47-0 win over Bradford in October 1931. Perhaps his greatest moment as a player came when he went back to the amateur game at Sharlston. In 1946 Tom was player-coach of his home-town team when they beat Workington Town in the Challenge Cup. He was 37 at the time.

After starting out with Sharlston, Tom’s oldest son Peter duly signed for Featherstone Rovers in September 1953. He was a back-row forward like his father, but struggled to find a place in a strong Rovers line-up. He stayed with Rovers some three seasons before moving on to today’s opponents Batley. With Featherstone, he made a total of 34 appearances, scoring two tries and 15 goals. It was as a coach that Peter Fox made a much greater mark, both at Featherstone in two spells, and at a host of other clubs too. He was Rovers first team boss from 1970 to 1974, taking the side to Wembley twice. He was coach again from 1987 to 1991.

Peter’s younger brother Don had already signed for Rovers in April 1953 before his older brother, and despite strong competition for the scrum-half role he immediately set about re-writing the record books. He turned into a prolific try and goal scorer. Don Fox went on to become arguably the greatest player Rovers have ever produced. Indeed, such are his feats that it took a whole book by Ron Bailey to list them all! His name is still in the Rovers record books as our most top career try scorer, but there was much more to his game than just points scoring. Towards the end of his career, after a successful time with Wakefield, he had a short spell as a player, then the coach of Batley. See here: and

Looking back and reflecting on players that escaped the net, players Rovers could have signed but didn’t, then Neil Fox, the youngest of Tommy’s three sons would be top of that list. Captain of Rovers U18 team, he was signed by Wakefield from under our noses and went on to become a legend, one of the greatest players of all time bar none. 2,575 career goals (a thousand more than the amazing Steve Quinn even) and a mammoth 6,220 points (a figure that will surely never be beaten by anyone) are awesome statistics but small testimony to Neil Fox. Why didn’t he sign for us? Over the years I’ve heard a number of theories as to why, but the fact is he didn’t, and we can only dream about what life would have been like for Rovers in the 1960s if he had.

No comments:

Post a Comment