A LOCAL footballing legend was honoured at the grand opening of a new apartment complex.
Named after the late Jimmy Knox, the then Mayor of Rugby, Coun Carolyn Watson-Merret cut the ribbon at Knox Court – a retirement living development off Bilton Road.
Knox managed Rugby’s two prominent senior football clubs across three decades and two of his children, Steve and Kate, were part of the official ceremonial party.
They came together alongside two other key figures in the historical development of football within the town in the form of Keith Coughlan and Mick Vousden.
Steve said: “We would like to thank Rugby Borough Council for their role in enabling this honour to be established.
“Oakfield always had a special place in my father’s heart from his days of playing and managing there.
“A lot of the family still live in and around Rugby, so it’s great to have the site as a permanent memorial reference point now.”
Knox made first-team appearances at both Raith Rovers and Coventry City in the old Division Three South before transferring into non-league football and lining-up for Lockheed Leamington, Corby and Banbury.
He had three separate playing spells at an old incarnation of Rugby Town before becoming player-manager of this (now-defunct) Town entity from 1971 until its liquidation in 1973, whereupon he took over at local rivals AP Leamington between 1973 and 1980.
He took on the VS Rugby manager’s job in January 1981 after a lengthy period of persuasion by Vousden – the club’s Chairman at the time.
Knox took the struggling West Midlands League outfit on an unforgettable journey which included a famous FA Vase win against Halesowen at Wembley, their first entry into the Southern League and a number of memorable FA Cup runs.
He remained at the Butlin Road-based club until the end of the 1991/92 season, with his 10-year anniversary recognised with a testimonial game against a strong team from Manchester United, where his younger brother Archie was assistant manager to Alex Ferguson.
Jimmy sadly died on Christmas Eve 2012 aged 77, but his memory lives on to this day among the club’s supporters, ex-players and officials alike.
Coughlan was one of the founders of the Valley Sports club in 1956 and a long-serving Club Secretary of the entity that has evolved through the VS Rugby and Rugby United identities to ultimately play today under the current Rugby Town FC banner.
Coughlan said: “He was one of non-league football’s most successful players and managers ever – as well as an honourable man and always a pleasure to be with away from the game.”
Steve himself played in that momentous Wembley victory and had joined up with many of team-mates and supporters from then to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the triumph only days before the Knox Court opening ceremony.
He added: “It was great to get together with the boys and see many of the old faces again, and it was also great to discover that the club are also celebrating another success this year with the promotion back into Step four of the non-league pyramid.”