East Ham, London born goalkeeper Herbert Bown began his football career with Squirrels Heath in 1908 and played for Roneo Works in 1909 before joining Romford Town in 1910. While with Romford Bown had trials with West Ham United in 1912 but his first engagement in professional football came when he joined Leicester Fosse in April 1913, making his Football League debut against Notts County in November 1913. He became their regular goalkeeper in succession to Ron Brebner and shared the gloves during 1914-15 with Charles Barnett.
He played over 40 games for Leicester before the suspension of football due to the onset of the First World War, during which he played wartime football for The Fossils, and then resumed in goal as the regular keeper for a further three seasons in the immediate aftermath of the War, before moving to Halifax Town in May 1922 after 154 appearances for The Fossils, who by now had become The Foxes after changing their name to Leicester City in 1920.
At Halifax he played 93 games over the next two seasons and unusually scored a penalty at home to Stalybridge Celtic in the last game of the 1922-23 season, being ever present in 1923-24 for The Shaymen. In 1924 he retired but he moved to Hull City in January 1925 on an emergency basis but only played 5 times for The Tigers before retiring from professional football.