Sheffield Wednesday FC - Oscar Fox 1921 - 1990

Whilst researching my wife's family history, my mother in law mentioned that one of her cousins played for Sheffield Wednesday after the war. Being a Blades fan I was not overly impressed with this revelation but sometimes you have to put prejudice aside in researching your family history. My first port of call was ever impressive The Sheffield Wednesday Archive which gave the following information with regard to his career at Hillsborough

Born: 1st January 1921, Clowne Derbyshire
Died: 14th January 1990
First Game: Sat 12th October 1946 away at Manchester
City. In front of a crowd of  36,413, Wednesday lost 2 - 1 with Jim Briscoe being the Owl's scorer
Final Game: 18th February 1950 home in the 3-3 draw with Brentford. The crowd was 37,923 and it was in this last game for the club that he scored only his third goal for the Wednesday.  Clarrie Jordan scored the other two.
Career Span: 3 years 130 days
Career Performance: Played 47 Won 20 Drawn 11 Lost 16
Success Rate: 54.00%

Wednesday Playing Record

                  LEAGUE        FA CUP        TOTAL       
 Season         Apps  Goals   Apps  Goals   Apps  Goals
1946-1947         5      0      1      1      6      1
1947-1948         8      0      2      0     10      0
1948-1949        22      1      0      0     22      1
1949-1950         9      2      0      0      9      2

  Total          44      3      3      1     47      4

A book just recently issued The Wednesday Boys by Jason Dickinson and John Brodie adds further information about Oscar. It appears that he was a Sheffielder after all. I was sceptical about the birthplace of Oscar as I have never come across any reference to Clowne in all my research into the family. He was in fact born at Brayfield House, Walkley Lane, Sheffield and attended the local school at Wisewood. He played for the local school team and later for Wadsley Amateurs before signing professional forms with Sheffield Wednesday. He played wartime soccer with the Owls making his senior debut in April 1943 against Rotherham. According to Dickinson and Brodie he was a regular in these games playing at either inside or outside left.

After the was it was as an outside left that he appeared with Wednesday but he was competing with the likes of Frank Slynn, and Jackie Marriott. His career was further interrupted by two years National Service with the RAF. In fact he only made nine appearances in the promotion winning side of 1949 - 1950 (they finished runners up to Tottenham Hotspur) before joining Mansfield Town.

In his debut season for Mansfield, Oscar was a member of the team that finished second in Division Three North, and was a regular member of the side for the next five years. In 195152, he scored a career-best ten goals. Oscar remained at Mansfield for the rest of his career, retiring from the game in May 1958 age 37, having played a total of 258 games for the Stags, scoring 34 goals. He was appointed assistant to manager Sam Weaver the following month, and remained in that role until Weaver was sacked in January 1960 with Mansfield near the bottom of Division Three.

After leaving football it appears that Oscar obtained a job with an Engineering Company in Clay Cross near Chesterfield and according to Dickinson and Brodie, scouted occasionally for one of the legends of the modern game, Bill Shankley.

Oscar died aged 69 on Sunday 14th January 1990 and is buried in Wisewood Cemetery on the outskirts of Sheffield.

The Sheffield Star dated Tuesday 16th January 1990 carried a brief obituary of Oscar

EX-OWLS STAR DIES

A former Sheffield Wednesday favourite of the 1940's has died aged 69

Oscar Fox made 47 appearances at outside right for the club from 1943 - 1950 scoring four goals before being transferred to Mansfield Town. Born in Clowne in 1921 in 1921 Sheffield Wednesday provided his first experience of professional football but he never had a settled run in the side.

Oscar leaves a widow Joan and sister Mary.

The funeral will take place at St Johns Owlerton Sheffield on Friday at 1.15pm (19th January 1990).

The papers also carried a notice in the Births, Marriages and Deaths -

FOX OSCAR - died on Sunday 14th January 1990 former Sheffield Wednesday & Mansfield Town footballer. The devoted husband of Joan, pal of Chip and brother of Mary in Australia, and the late Norah.

Service at St Johns Owlerton Sheffield on Friday at 1.15pm

Interment at Wisewood Cemetery at 2.00pm

"Loving memories I will treasure to the end of life's story" - Joan

His wife Joan survived him and I believe his sister Mary is still living in Melbourne Australia. Mary and her husband emigrated after the war and despite numerous invitations to visit Australia, Oscar never did - it appears he had a fear of flying!!. He had an older sister Norah who was born in 1919 but I do not have any further information on her.

However what I did not know until now was that Oscar's father, my mother-in-law's uncle, was also a footballer albeit this time with Bradford City. Fortunately there is a great website on the history of Bradford City FC that details his father's career and this can be found on the Bantams Past Link. The confusing element is that he is also called Oscar. It was this Oscar Fox who married Alice Simpson and in doing indirectly introduced "Sheffield Wednesday" into the family tree.     

If anyone can help me by supplying me with additional details of Oscar's life and career I would be really pleased.

And in May 2011 someone did!. A reader of the article added his own memories of Oscar

"As a boy of about ten years old (I am 62 now) I remember Oscar occasionally visiting our house on Sedan Street, Pitsmoor in the company of my late uncle Lewis Fearnehough who, incidentally, was a Unitedite. 
I remember him as a friendly guy who indulged me as I showed off with a case-ball in the back yard.
About that time he played in a Sheffield All-Stars eleven versus a Show Biz team at Owlerton Stadium in a charity match which I attended with my father and uncle. It attracted a very large crowd which I remember encroaching over the touchlines and there were people sitting on the roof of the stand. Derek Dooley was one of the linesmen and I remember being surprised by his mobility.
Oscar got the autographs of the Sheffield team for me but the only one I can recall (other than his own!) was that of Harry Hough.
In the seventies I worked with a lad called Kevin Kelsey who knew Oscar and spoke highly of him. I think he told me that Oscar coached the football team at the Myrtle Inn.
I last ran into Oscar and his wife in the late seventies/early eighties in a pub in town. He was wearing one of those 'shorty' macs that were fashionable at the time. I recognised him immediately and made myself known to him. I'm not sure that he remembered me but he was too much of a gentlemen to let on."

 

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Notes

Sources:

The Wednesday Boys by Jason Dickinson and John Brodie

The Sheffield Star dated Tuesday 16th January 1990

The Sheffield Wednesday Archive

Wednesday 1867 - 1987 - The Complete Record by Keith Farnsworth

Retter, Jack (1995). Who's Who The Stags 19021995. Yore Publications

History of Bradford City FC

This page was last updated on 16/05/11 09:55