Walkden, Salford, Lancashire born centre forward Fred Howard began his football career with Walkden Wednesday from where he signed for First Division club Manchester City in September 1912, making his Football League debut against Liverpool in January 1913, sensationally scoring all 4 goals in a 4-1 win at Hyde Road. He scored 11 goals in 17 appearances before the end of the season and finished as The Citizens’ second top goalscorer behind George Wynn. The following season he scored 14 goals, including a hat-trick in a win at Derby County, when he was the club’s joint top goalscorer with Tommy Browell, and in 1914-15 he was the club’s outright top scorer with 18 goals, however the onset of the First World War then forced the suspension of peacetime football in the summer of 1915 which severely interrupted his career.
He did remain in Manchester for part of the 1915-16 wartime league season, scoring 4 goals in 7 games before his Army service, and after the War he returned to Hyde Road, but played just twice more for City before leaving to join Mid Rhondda after 43 goals in 90 appearances. He joined Pontypridd in 1921 and in November that year signed for Gillingham, however he failed to make the first team at Priestfield and after trials with Dundee Hibernian and Ayr United he joined Scottish League club Clyde in 1922, before returning to Football League action with Port Vale in July 1923. He scored twice in a dozen appearances for Vale but was soon transferred to New Brighton in February 1924, where he scored 4 goals in 10 appearances before the season end. He then joined Wrexham in September 1924 and played only once for The Dragons against Lincoln City at the start of October before joining Welshpool in 1925. He subsequently played for Holyhead Town in 1926 before his eventual retirement.