Ruel Fox has revealed he never wanted to leave Newcastle United back in 1995.
The popular winger’s exit raised eyebrows on Tyneside when Kevin Keegan sold Fox to Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the 1995/96 season in which the Magpies were challenging for the Premier League title.
However, Keegan – who also controversially sold another favourite in Scott Sellars to Bolton Wanderers that year – could not resist a £4.3million bid from Tottenham Hotspur.
It meant that Keegan’s initial Entertainers side, which wooed the nation, were modified with David Ginola coming in from Paris St-Germain and Keith Gillespie, earlier part of a cash plus player swap deal worth £7million with Manchester United.
Fox, who had cost United a fee of £2.2million from Norwich City in 1994, said: “It was a strange one.
“I knew Tottenham were interested in me but I was only at the club for a couple of seasons and definitely not looking to leave.
“With the Andy Cole sale a few months earlier, Kevin Keegan was looking to invest in players and looking further ahead.
“And it just so happened my name got mentioned to him.
“The money that was being offered they just couldn’t turn it down.
“He approached me and told me and initially I told him I was under contract and happy to stay.
“But then it got to a stage wasn’t getting into the team regularly or maybe it was his way of trying to force my hand and getting me to leave, I don’t know.”
Fox insists he never really wanted to quit life at St James’ Park – despite a lucrative move to White Hart Lane to play under Gerry Francis.
The former winger said: “I do know it was a massive disappointment for me because I could see where the Newcastle team was going.
“I loved it there and was settled.
“I wasn’t homesick even though my family were down here and I was commuting.
“I would never have used that as an excuse because I loved it in Newcastle.
“It just got to a stage where I came off a good season when I got 12 goals.”
Fox insists even now that he would have fought for his place at United if he’d been able to.
Fox, speaking on an Instagram Live with Newcastle Legends, said: “I was in competition with Keith Gillespie and I had no problem with that.
“When Keith first signed I was on one wing and he was on the other.
“Then David Ginola came in it was just down to either me or Keith who was playing on the right.
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“I understood it but it was hard for me to get my head around as I’d had that good season before.
“The run I was on got halted and it almost forced my hand and I felt if I wasn’t wanted I would leave.
“I didn’t leave happy to get out of Newcastle, I left happy because I knew I’d be back to play regular football.”