Players - Rab Howell

Rab Howell
Birthdate: 12 October 1867
Birthplace: Sheffield, England
Date of death: 21 July 1937
Other clubs: Ecclesfield, Rotherham Swifts (1888-90), Sheffield United (1890-98), Preston North End (1901-03)
Bought from: Sheffield United
Signed for LFC: £200, 06.04.1898
International debut: 09.03.1895 vs. Ireland
International caps: 2/1 (1/0 at LFC) - 08.04.1899
Liverpool debut: 16.04.1898
Last appearance: 01.01.1901
Contract expiry: June 1901
Win ratio: 43.28% W:29 D:12 L:26
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 3 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 59 / 0
Total LFC games/goals: 67 / 0

Player Profile

The first gypsy to play for Liverpool and represent England. Rabbi "Rab" Howell was born in a Romany caravan in Wincobank, Sheffield. The 5ft. 5ins. (165cm.) half-back made his debut for Liverpool in their final first division fixture of the 1897/98 season. He arrived after featuring in 24 out of Sheffield United's 30 League games who had finished their League programme as champions before Howell's departure after being runners-up the previous year. Howell missed only four League games in his full debut season as the Reds finished second to champions Aston Villa. He was also a first-team regular for most of the last season of the nineteenth century but played just twice more for the first team after that, midway through the 1900/01 championship season, not surprising given he was 33 years of age. He was so described by his Sheffield United team-mate Ernest Needham: "A gypsy by birth, perhaps owes some of his inexhaustible vitality to his lucky parentage. Certain it is that no man is more untiring. In his right-hand position this light-weight player always excels. He rejoices at meeting the best of forward wings, and should the outside man indulge in dribbling he sticks to him like a leech. Many duels have I seen between him and Spiksley [of Sheffield Wednesday], and generally Howell has come off best. Unfortunately he is a little too fond of keeping the ball too long, and loses many opportunities."

Howell made his England debut as a Sheffield United player scoring in a 9-0 win over Ireland on 9 March 1895, but had to wait four years for his second and final international against Scotland, then on Liverpool's books. Liverpool played in a benefit for Howell against Preston North End on 30 September 1904. He had retired a year earlier after breaking his leg, playing at Preston.

After finishing playing Howell remained living in Preston, eking out a living as  a labourer and night watchman. In later years he was in poor health and went blind towards the end of 1936. He died on 21st July 1937 at the age of 69.
Appearances per season
Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 59 8 0 0 0 67
1897-1898 1 0 0 0 0 1
1898-1899 30 6 0 0 0 36
1899-1900 26 2 0 0 0 28
1900-1901 2 0 0 0 0 2
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
Total Opponent
7 Sheffield United
6 Stoke City
5 Blackburn Rovers
5 WBA
4 Burnley
4 Everton
4 Sunderland
4 Aston Villa
3 Newcastle United
3 Bury
3 Preston North End
3 Nottingham Forest
3 Derby
3 Wolves
3 Notts County
2 Bolton Wanderers
2 Sheffield Wednesday
2 Manchester City
1 Glossop North End
Total Competition
59 League
8 FA Cup
Milestone Appearances
# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 16.04.1898 Aston Villa Anfield League
50 18.11.1899 Aston Villa Anfield League
Other Clubs
Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Ecclesfield N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rotherham Swifts 1888-1890 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Sheffield United 1892-1893 England First Division 22 2 25 2
Sheffield United 1893-1894 England First Division 28 2 29 2
Sheffield United 1894-1895 England First Division 25 1 28 1
Sheffield United 1895-1896 England First Division 27 0 30 0
Sheffield United 1896-1897 England First Division 29 1 30 1
Sheffield United 1897-1898 England First Division 24 0 26 0
Preston North End 1901-1902 England Second Division 26 1 28 1
Preston North End 1902-1903 England Second Division 30 0 33 0
Preston North End 1903-1904 England Second Division 4 0 4 0
Total 215 7 233 7