Bredbury, Cheshire born centre forward Fred Howe started his football career with local club Wilmslow in 1929 and played for Hyde United in 1930 before joining Third Division (North) club Stockport County in September 1931, making his Football League debut at Carlisle United on Boxing Day the same year. That was his only first team appearance that season and with only one further match in 1932-33, he left The Hatters to re-join Hyde United in 1933 with no sign of the prolific goal ratios that would follow.
Howe was then recommended to First Division club Liverpool by former Red Tommy Johnson who saw him feature for Hyde United in the Cheshire League. He made his Liverpool debut against Derby on 6th April 1935 and figured in 6 of the final 7 First Division fixtures of that season, scoring in successive matches against Aston Villa, Stoke City and Chelsea. He was the club’s leading scorer for the next two seasons with 17 goals from 36 appearances in 1935-36, a total which included 7 goals in a week, followed by 16 goals from 41 matches in 1936-37.
Howe’s biggest moment in the Liverpool shirt came when he scored four goals in the club’s biggest win over their eternal rivals, Everton, by 6 goals to nil on 7th September 1935. Three of his goals were headers, the last of which came in the eighty-ninth minute at an “express speed”. Only three Liverpool players before him had managed a hat-trick against Everton: Harry Chambers in 1922, Dick Forshaw in 1925 and Harold Barton in 1933. Seventy-seven years passed before Steven Gerrard joined this exclusive group of men in 2012. Still nobody has equalled Howe’s quadruple against Liverpool’s eternal rivals at Anfield so for that alone he deserves to go down in Merseyside folklore. A week later he also scored a hat-trick in a 7-2 thrashing of Grimsby Town. The next season his total included a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in November 1936.
He only figured 11 times in 1937-38 but failed to add to his goal tally which turned out to be his final season at Liverpool. After 36 goals in 94 appearance for The Reds he joined Second Division club Manchester City in June 1938, scoring 5 goals in 6 appearances in just three weeks before being signed by First Division club Grimsby Town at the start of October. He scored 21 goals in 35 appearances during the remainder of the season for The Mariners, finishing as the club’s top scorer, including 4 goals in a 6-1 thrashing of Leicester City that December before his career was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 after another 2 goals in 3 appearances at the start of the 1939-40 season, when the new season was abandoned.
After the War he scored 20 goals in 31 games as a 34-year-old for Third Division Oldham Athletic after joining them in July 1946, with two hat-tricks, scoring all The Latics’ goals in wins over Rochdale and Lincoln City in September 1946, but at the end of the 1946-47 season he re-joined non league Hyde United and later played for Ashton United in 1948 before his eventual retirement.