Ashton-in-Ribble, Lancashire born right back Fred Heap had played for Lancashire Combination club Rochdale in 1914 prior to the First World War, during which he continued to play wartime football with ‘Dale, and after the War he signed for Second Division club Bury in April 1919, making his Football League debut at Stockport County that September. Originally a centre forward, he moved to right half and then quickly established himself as a regular member of their first eleven at right back.
He was an ever present when The Shakers were promoted as Second Division runners up to the First Division in 1923-24, when the club, with the likes of Norman Bullock and Tiny Bradshaw, had its most successful team since the turn of the century, finishing fourth in the League Championship in 1925-26 when Heap was again an ever present, with 5th placed finishes in 1925 and 1928.
Described as “not a showy player but sound, serviceable and dependable. Meets a man courageously, kicks a good length and places with judgement” and with a reputation for reliability, he was awarded a benefit for his long service in 1925-26 by Bury. He played a total of five seasons with The Shakers in the First Division before their relegation in 1929, but he only played once more at the start of the following season before his retirement after 5 goals in 281 appearances.
NB it is not known if he was related to Bob Heap, who also appeared for Bury and Rochdale, although it seems likely. They were not born in the same location, Bob was seven years older, however there does appear to be physical similarity.