Fulwood, Lancashire born inside forward Fred Dewhurst “learned his football at Mount St. Mary’s College, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and returning to his native town in the year 1882, he was soon enrolled a member of the North End Club…”, playing for Preston Juniors in 1881 and he joined Preston North End as an amateur in 1882, playing for them until 1891, latterly when they were in The Football League. Dewhurst was the first North End player to play representative football for Lancashire when he took part in the game against London for the benefit of the Moorfield Colliery Relief Fund.
Prior to the inauguration of the Football League, North End were anxious to prove their worth against the Corinthians. Preston won 3-1 at The Kennington Oval and then 4-3 at Deepdale with Dewhurst netting a hat-trick. He scored Preston’s goal in their 1888 FA Cup Final defeat to West Bromwich Albion at The Kennington Oval immediately before the foundation of The Football League.
He made his Football League debut in Preston’s inaugural League fixture scoring twice in a 5-2 victory over Burnley in September 1888. In the 1888-89 “Invincibles” season he scored 12 goals in 16 League appearances and also scored as Preston beat Wolves 3-0 in the 1889 FA Cup Final in front of 27,000 at The Kennington Oval, captaining the team to victory. He had been a losing finalist in the 1888 Cup Final when Preston lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion. In 1889-90 he played only 6 matches for Preston as they again won the League Championship.
He also made 9 appearances for England between 1886 and 1889, scoring 11 goals, scoring in all but one match. He had first been selected aged 19 in 1884 but withdrew. His scoring debut came against Ireland in Belfast in March 1886, he scored a hat-trick against Wales at Crewe in February 1888 and his last cap, in which he also scored, came in February 1889 against Wales at The Victoria Ground, Stoke. He jointly held the overall England goalscoring record from February 1889, when he scored his 11th goal to equal they tally of Charles Bambridge and Tinsley Lindley, until March 1890, when Lindley overhauled him. Some sources credit Dewhurst with a hat-trick rather than 2 goals against Wales in February 1888, which would raise his overall tally to 12, leaving him sole record-holder from February 1889 to March 1890, then jointly with Lindley until the latter’s 13th goal in March 1891.
He also played football for The Corinthians throughout the 1880’s but was forced to retire through ill health in 1891 and died “after a lingering illness” (possibly tuberculosis) aged only 31 in April 1895.