South Bank, Middlesbrough born outside left Fred Priest played for South Bank in 1895 before joining Sheffield United in 1896, his Football League debut coming against Burnley that September, with Priest scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory. He scored 12 times in his debut season as United finished runners up in the League Championship. The following season he missed only two matches as The Blades won the League Championship, and in 1899 he was part of the United team that won the FA Cup for the first time when they beat Derby County 4-1 in the Final played at The Crystal Palace, with Priest scoring the final goal late on.
Priest was called up for England in March 1900, winning his only England cap in a 2-0 win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, a season in which United again finished as runners up in the League Championship. In the 1901 FA Cup run, Priest scored 7 times in 7 Cup ties including scoring in the drawn semi final (2-2) against Aston Villa at The City Ground, Nottingham, then scoring twice in the replay at The Baseball Ground, then the first goal in the FA Cup Final at The Crystal Palace against Tottenham Hotspur in another 2-2 draw, and in their eventual defeat in the replay at Burnden Park when Tottenham triumphed 3-1.
The following season Priest returned to the FA Cup Final with The Blades, this time he scored 4 times in the Cup run but in neither the Final nor the replay, which was won 2-1 against Southampton at The Crystal Palace. He played his last game of 261 for The Blades in October 1905, and having scored 88 goals he re-joined South Bank in December 1905. First Division club Middlesbrough signed him in October 1906 as a player, as well as an assistant trainer, he made thirteen League appearances for them. Two years later, in the summer of 1909, he crossed the River Tees to join the newly formed Hartlepools United as their player-manager, he retired from playing in December 1909 after four North-Eastern League appearances. For The Monkey Hangers, Priest remained their manager until 1912, managed a total of 145 matches, of which 68 were wins, 37 draws and 40 losses, with 311 goals scored and 179 goals conceded. They were North Eastern League runners up in 1910 and won the Durham Senior Cup in 1909 and 1910, losing in the Final in 1911.
After his premature death in 1922 Hartlepools United took on Sheffield United (including several Wednesday players). The gate money was given to his widow and young family of eight children.