"R Howell, or 'Rab' as he is known to the crowd at Bramall Lane, is a Sheffielder by birth and education. Born at Wincobank, near Sheffield, on October 12th, 1869, he came into notice very early as a halfback for the adjoining village team of Ecclesfield, a Club which took a prominent position in Sheffield Association Football prior to the introduction of professionalism. After spending one season with the Rotherham Swifts as a pro., he joined the Sheffield United FC, then in its second year, and has occupied a place in its first team ever since. He has represented Sheffield for years in its Inter-Association matches, and last winter fairly earned his Cap for England in the Irish match. Formerly he played centre half, but for his present club he has always occupied the position of right half with conspicuous success. He is small, but for his size he has not many equals. Very quick in his movements, he never tires, and plays equally well to the end of the game."
Find more Victorian footballers in The Victorian Football Miscellany.
How did we become football fans? Savage Enthusiasm: A History of Football Fans is the brand new book from Goal Post's Paul Brown, tracing the remarkable evolution of the fan from the earliest origins of the game right through to the present day.
It's available from Amazon.co.uk at the sale price of £10 (
RRP £12.99), and from Amazon stores worldwide.