In a lengthy professional career, Fred Hawley accumulated 306 League appearances, and, but for the four-year break caused by the First World War, may well have established himself in the top flight for many years. The well-built pivot joined Sheffield United from Ripley Town for a £70 fee in December 1912 and made his debut for the ‘Blades’ at centre forward in a 4-1 victory over Derby County at Bramall Lane, but he quickly reverted to the centre-half berth and had made 57 First Division appearances before the wartime hiatus in 1915.
Working in a Coventry munitions factory throughout the hostilities, he guested at various times for Coventry City, Birmingham, Derby County and both Nottingham clubs in the wartime regional competitions.
Fred was officially transferred to Coventry City in May 1919 for the considerable sum of £350 on their election to the Second Division of the Football League, but was soon on the move when Birmingham paid £250 for his the end of the 1919-20, he joined Swindon Town in May 1920 for their first campaign in the newly formed Third Division, and remained in Wiltshire until March 1923 when he was recruited by Bristol City to strengthen their defence for the run-in to the championship of the Third Division ( South) that season.
In June 1925, Albion paid £350 for the experienced defender, a massive outlay for a 34-year-old at the time, and he held the centre- half spot throughout the 1925-26 season, forming a splendid understanding with wing-halves Reg Wilkinson and Wally Little. Fred was released to join Queen’s Park Rangers in May 1926, his last before moving into non-League football.