Foxes A to Z, Rodney Fern, 1969 FA Cup finalist and foxes cult hero

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A popular utility forward who mixed flashes of creative inspiration with moment of almost undearing clumsiness. Rodney, was given his frist team brack by coach Bert Johnson while Matt Gillies was on sick leave, and played out his first season in an unlikely looking but effective striking partnership with Frank Large.

It was Rodney’s 44th minute goal, in only his third game, which prompted City’s hoodoo-breaking FA Cup fightback agianst Manchester City in 1968 (when a 0-2 defeat was turned into 4-3 victory on a night of pulsating drama, and insdeed it was the Cup which regularly brough the best out of him. The 6th Round winner at Mansfield helped City towards Wembley in 1969, while his headed goal at Arsenal in 1971 migt have opened the way to another medal for Rodney had been so cotroversially disallowed.

He was City’s top scorer in 1969/70 (when he got off the mark with a spectacular overhead kick in the opening fixture against Birmingham, but it was a superb playmaking performance in the crucial Easter game at Luton in the next promotion campaign which probably earned Rodney his later £ 45 000 move to Kenilworth Road.

He had a mixed time there until the goal ratio increased again at Chesterfield, but it was as a veteran at Rotherham using his head to save his legs and still striking regularly that enjoyed renewed success twice embarrassing Leicester City in the League Cup and winning a Third Division championship medal in 1981.

Fern retired in 1983 with a career aggregate of 124 league goals, to concentrate on the running of a pub in Lount, though he later in life established himself as a coal merchant back in Measham.

Rodney had a long life relationship with two other former fotballers, Jeff Bourne and Vic Halom, who all met during school days. Halom is known from the great 73 FA Cup winning Sunderland team, he later played together with Fern at Rotherham and had spells at several clubs including Oldham and Fulham. Jeff Bourne had a career at Derby and Crystal Palace and also played in the NASL, being famous for a fantastic goalscoring ratio.

For Leicester City fans living in Sweden and Norway, Rodney will always be remembered for his goal back in December 1969, against Cardiff City. The first so called Saturday “Tippekampen” live game with Leicester involved.

Rodney Fern sadly passed away in January 2018, at the age of 69, after a struggle with dimentia.

FACTFILE:

  • Full Name: Rodney Fern
  • Position: Forward
  • Date & of Birth: 13.12.1948, Date of Death: 16.01.2018
  • Birthplace: Burton upon Trent
  • Nation: England
  • Major League Career:
    • 1967-72, Leicester City (152/32)
    • 1972-75, Luton Town (39/5),
    • 1975-79, Chesterfield (152/54),
    • 1979-83, Rotherham United (105/34)

Links: Pinterest, Wikipedia

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