Sheffield born inside forward Fred Dent began his football career with St Cuthbert’s in 1914 but after the First World War, during which he served with the 1/3rd West Riding Field Ambulance, 49th West Riding Division, at the time he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. His Meritorius Service Medal was gazetted 17th June 1918. A Military Medal was gazetted for him 13th September 1918.
After demobilisation he joined Vickers in 1919 before signing for Second Division club Sheffield Wednesday in November 1920, making his Football League debut the same month, scoring in a 3-0 win over Fulham at Hillsborough. He played 3 more matches for Wednesday before joining new Third Division (North) constituent Halifax Town in June 1921, playing in their inaugural League fixture at Darlington that August, scoring 9 goals in 25 appearances in his debut season for The Shaymen. After a further season at Halifax, and a further 4 goals in 14 matches, he joined Chesterfield in August 1923, where he failed to make their first eleven before joining non league Mid-Rhondda United in the 1924 close season. Whilst there he was selected and played for The Welsh League against The Irish League in Dublin.
He returned to Football League action with Bristol City in May 1925, scoring once in 12 appearances for The Robins, before a move to Exeter City in July 1926, where in a magnificent 1927-28 campaign he scored 32 goals, including two 4 goal hauls in victories over Bristol Rovers and Aberdare Athletic (in the FA Cup) in November 1927. After 35 goals in 56 appearances for The Grecians he returned to Wales, being signed by Merthyr Town in May 1928, but remained goalless in 14 appearances for the Welsh outfit, before signing for Norwich City in December 1928, where he rediscovered his goalscoring form, with 12 goals in 24 appearances during the remainder of the season.
In May 1929 he signed for Swindon Town, and he scored 6 goals in 20 appearances for Swindon during a single season at The County Ground. His final League club was Luton Town, whom he joined in July 1930, scoring 5 goals in 16 appearances during 1930-31 before he joined non league Sheffield Employment Exchange after the season end. He subsequently played for Barnsley Ministry of Labour in 1934.