On this day in 1939, Neil Fox MBE was born in Sharlston, England.
Fox is regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game and holds Rugby League’s all-time career points record with 6,220 during his career.
His career saw him enjoy a decade long spell with Wakefield Trinity before another four-year stint with the club following a year at Bradford Northern. Fox also represented Hull Kingston Rovers, York, Bramley and Huddersfield before finishing his career at Bradford.
Fox made 29 appearances for Great Britain whilst also featuring for England and Yorkshire during his playing career. Brothers Peter and Don were also huge Rugby League names with both also representing Wakefield.
Fox’s career began in 1956 at Wakefield with one of his earliest games coming in a 17-12 victory over a touring Kangaroos side at Belle Vue in December. He would play in the 1959 Yorkshire Cup defeat to Leeds before making his international debut for Great Britain later that year.
His first taste of success came in the 1960 Challenge Cup Final as Wakefield beat Hull FC 38-5 at Wembley Stadium, with Fox’s two tries and seven goals giving him a 20-point haul; a record for an individual player in a Challenge Cup Final.
Two years later, Fox would be awarded the coveted Lance Todd Trophy for a Man of the Match performance in Wakefield’s 1962 Challenge Cup triumph over Huddersfield. Fox crossed for a try as well as kicking three drop-goals in the 12-6 victory.
A third Challenge Cup would follow in 1963 with Fox kicking five goals in a 25-10 defeat of Wigan at Wembley. Fox’s Wakefield Trinity side had won three Challenge Cup Finals in four seasons; the best record over that time period of any club up until Wigan’s dominance of the competition in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fox had suffered defeat in the 1960 Championship Final against Wigan, but he would lift a Championship title with Wakefield in 1967 thanks to a 21-9 win over St Helens; Fox with three successful goals.
It would be back-to-back Championship titles as a try-scoring performance saw Wakefield beat Hull KR in a Championship Final Replay at Swinton’s Station Road, 17-10. Fox also won the Yorkshire Cup on three occasions during his first spell with Wakefield (1960, 1961 and 1964).
After a season with Bradford Northern, in which Fox continued his fine point-scoring form, he re-joined Wakefield in 1970. He would go on to notch another 890 points between 1970 and 1974 but suffered defeat in the Player’s No.6 Trophy final and two Yorkshire Cup finals.
In the final years of his career he would go on to spend time at Hull Kingston Rovers, York, Bramley, Huddersfield and a second stint with Bradford. Fox tallied 470 points for Hull Kingston Rovers in just two years before breaking the 100-point barrier at each of his following clubs. He would win a final Yorkshire Cup with Bradford in 1979 kicking three goals in an 18-8 victory over one of his former sides, York.
On the international stage, Fox appeared for Great Britain on 29 occasions scoring 14 tries including crucial tries in both of Great Britain’s victories over Australia in the 1959-60 Ashes Series. Fox would be involved in consecutive Ashes Series victories in 1960 and 1962.
Fox was listed in the 1983 Birthday Honours and was made a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to Rugby League. He was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 1989.
His staggering point-scoring record of 6,220 career points breaks down to 358 tries, 2,575 goals and four drop-goals. It is worth noting that tries were still worth three points throughout Fox’s playing career.