Holmes, near Rotherham born centre forward Sam Powell played junior football for Thornhill United in 1919 and signed for Second Division Leeds United in January 1921, making his Football League debut against Cardiff City in March 1921. However he spent most of his time in the reserves, his only decent run in the first eleven coming between March and May 1923 when he scored 5 goals in 10 appearances. He proved a very good backup for Matt Ellson and Jack Lyon in his first season, then Len Armitage, Jim Moore, Jack Swan and Bill Poyntz and later Percy Whipp, Jack Swan and John Armand. He was sold to Sheffield Wednesday to help raise cash for Leeds to sign Russell Wainscoat from Middlesbrough in March 1925 after 7 goals in 28 appearances.
Powell bagged a hat-trick against Fulham in a 3-1 victory at Hillsborough the next month, but once again he was largely a reserve team player for Wednesday, scoring 9 times in 26 appearances over a 5 year spell before he joined non league Stafford Rangers in 1930, where he ended his playing career. However he soon returned to Wednesday to spend nearly thirty years as one of the backroom staff, including seven years as reserve team trainer, before being appointed first team trainer in 1937 and he eventually retired in 1959.
In the photograph circa 1938 he talks with 3 Wednesday reserve team players, Condron, Lacey and Davis, none of whom made a first team appearance for The Owls.