Frimley Green, Surrey born left back Fred Dawes began his football career with Frimley Green in 1927 and played for Southern League Aldershot in 1928 before being signed along with his brother Bert by Third Division (South) club Northampton Town in March 1929, his Football League debut coming against Torquay United in April 1930. He didn’t play for the first team at all in 1930-31 but broke into the team in September 1931 and enjoyed five seasons as a first team regular, scoring his only goal for The Cobblers in a win over Newport County in September 1932.
He signed for Crystal Palace in February 1936 after 184 appearances for Northampton Town, and it was at Palace that he developed into somewhat of a stalwart, being ever present in two of the final three peacetime seasons before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, and in their first season of peacetime football after the War, 1946-47. Described as “cool as ice, he is never ruffled and his best form comes out when his team is hard pressed. Strong in the tackle and clever with his head, he is a hard man to beat”, he also became club captain and scored twice in 247 appearances for Crystal Palace, playing his last game in October 1949 before retiring in 1950.
After retiring as a player, Dawes was appointed as assistant to then Crystal Palace manager Ronnie Rooke. Despite a reasonably successful 1949-50 season and a number of close season signings, the club had a very poor start to the 1950-51 season. In November 1950, Rooke was relieved of his position and Dawes was appointed as joint-manager, together with chief scout Charlie Slade. However, the partnership was unable to improve upon the season start and the club had to seek re-election in 1951. The 1951-52 season also began poorly and Dawes and Slade were dismissed in October.
Dawes’ older brother was Bert Dawes, who also played professionally for Aldershot, Crystal Palace and Northampton Town, and they played together at all three. Bert also played for Luton Town.