Hyde, Cheshire born full back Frank Knowles began his football career with Hyde St Thomas in 1908, Hyde in 1909 and Skelmersdale United in 1910 before joining Stalybridge Celtic in 1911. From there he was signed by First Division Manchester United in December 1911, making his Football League debut at Aston Villa in March 1912. Initially a fringe player, he came more into first team reckoning in the final two seasons before the First World War, playing 19 games per season. By the end of 1914-15 he had scored once for United in 47 appearances.
During World War One he guested for Arsenal, but after the War he joined Hartlepools United in 1919. In October 1919 he joined Manchester City, making 2 appearances for them the same month before re-joining Stalybridge Celtic. In August 1921 he returned to the north east and joined Ashington for their debut Football League season, and he scored 3 times in 38 appearances, including playing in their inaugural League fixture at Grimsby Town. In May 1922 he returned to Cheshire to sign for Second Division Stockport County, scoring once in 15 appearances before moving to Newport County in June 1923, where he made 17 appearances before signing for Queen’s Park Rangers in February 1924. At Loftus Road he made 40 appearances over the remainder of 1923-24 and 1924-25, before returning to Cheshire to join non league Ashton National in 1926, also playing subsequently for Macclesfield.