Born in Galston, Ayrshire, inside forward Jimmy Howie played for local junior side Galston Athletic in 1897 before he joined Kilmarnock in 1898. He was in the side that won the 1899 Scottish Second Division title and the following season earned selection to The Scottish League, playing against The Irish League in Belfast in February 1901. He joined Southern League Kettering Town later in 1901 then moved to Bristol Rovers the following season.
Howie was signed by Newcastle United in May 1903, making his Football League debut against Aston Villa the same September, and between then and 1910 made 237 appearances for the club, scoring 82 goals. He won the Football League Championship 3 times (1904-05, 1906-07 and 1908-09) and was also an FA Cup winner in 1910, as well as a losing finalist in 1905, 1906 and 1908. During this period he earned three caps for the Scotland, making his debut in April 1905, playing in a 1-0 defeat to England at The Crystal Palace. His other 2 caps were also against England, in April 1906 he scored twice in a 2-1 win at Hampden Park, and in April 1908 he played in a 1-1 draw at the same venue.
Howie was universally known in the game as “Gentleman James” but was equally notable for his peculiar running action, which looked like a hopping motion. After leaving Newcastle in December 1910 he spent three seasons with Huddersfield Town scoring 18 goals in 87 appearances before retiring.
In 1913 Howie moved into management when appointed manager of Queens Park Rangers, a position he held for seven years. He was then secretary-manager of Middlesbrough from March 1920 until May 1924.
His younger brother David, also a former professional footballer and played for Kilmarnock and Bradford Park Avenue.
This photograph is grafted from the 1907-08 Newcastle United team photograph, please see the linked image.