Cult hero Harry Howell: he may be an unfamiliar name to many but Harry Howell excelled for both Potteries football clubs…
Rob Fielding writes…
Howell’s greatest claim to fame was as a cricketer and he managed to play Test match cricket for England. However, Birmingham-born Howell seemingly excelled at any sport he put his hand to. He played as a guest for Stoke City during World War One, netting 42 goals in 52 games including two hat-tricks.
His association with Port Vale was brief but also memorable. He joined the Valiants in the 1918-19 season (the final season that football adopted its wartime format). He played eleven times but hit nine goals ending as the club’s top-scorer that season.
After a further footballing spell with Wolves, Howell returned to his foremost sport, cricket. Cricketing bible Wisden noted his rise to prominence noting that “in 1920, he obtained 161 wickets in all matches for just under 18 runs each.”
His form did not elude the England selectors and was he was called into the England Test side in 1920. He made his debut opening the bowling in the 1920 Ashes, taking three wickets at the MCG. Wisden wrote of his Ashes performances: “He accomplished nothing of note in these matches, but must have had a very different record had he been given proper support in the field. From all accounts the slip fieldsmen, early in each of the three matches in Australia failed him wretchedly.”
Harry sadly died in 1932 aged just 42 but he will be remembered as one of the great all-round sportsmen of the earliest twentieth century.
Cult hero Harry Howell
Cult credentials: A great all-round sportsman, brief but memorable Vale stay