Fred Speed was born in Annfield Plain amidst the North Durham coalfields, but he was raised in Lincolnshire and played for Lincoln City’s reserve team before joining Newark Town in the 1930 close season. By February 1931 he was signed by Hull City as a striker, amid reputed interest from Sunderland, Birmingham and Liverpool. He was quickly put into the first team by manager Bill McCracken and scored on his debut, a 1-1 draw against Barrow. Speed scored two further goals at the end of the season against York City and Nelson, his promise bearing fruit.
At the start of 1931/32 season Speed was out of the first team but when he returned in late October he immediately rewarded new boss Hayden Green with braces of goals against Tranmere, York (again) and New Brighton (in the FA Cup). When he scored the winner in a Christmas Day 3-1 win over Hartlepools United, Speed had hit 14 goals in his first 15 starts. When profilic City legend Paddy Mills returned to the club in January 1933, Speed was repurposed as a left half, where he performed equally well. On the last day of the season against Wrexham Speed was returned up front and scored twice in a 5-0 win – impressive marksmanship. Speed was chosen as City’s left half intermittently at the start of 1932/33 season but drifted out of the first team picture from November 1932 onwards as the improving Tigers went on to lift the Division Three North title. He remained at City for another year, playing four more times towards the end of the 1933/34 season. He left the Tigers in the 1934 close season.
Speed joined York City in July 1934 and in two seasons he scored 15 goals in 79 league starts. In June 1936 he switched to Mansfield Town – closer to his Nottingham home – and remaining with the Stags for three seasons, making precisely 100 league starts. In July 1939 he signed for Exeter City but only weeks into the season the Second World War curtailed league football and the two matches Fred started for the Grecians were expunged from the record. That was the end of Speed’s playing career, he worked in a steel works in Mansfield during the war and remained living in Nottingham, where he died in the second quarter of 1964.
Date/Place of Birth: 7 April 1909, Annfield Plain
Hull City First Game: 21 February 1931, Barrow H (Division Three North), 21 years, 320 days old
Hull City Final Game: 28 April 1934, Oldham Athletic A (Division Two), 25 years, 21 days old
Lincoln City (1929-1930), Newark Town (1930-1931), Hull City (1931-1934), York City (1934-1936), Mansfield Town (1936-1939), Exeter City (1939)
Hull City Record
Career: 52 apps, 18 goalsFred Speed