Friday 28 March 2014

Rab Howell 1869 - 1937

I've just updated the article on Rab. A fellow researcher kindly sent me some newspaper reports about the match against Sunderland that Rab was supposed to have thrown by scoring two own goals. But in the light of these reports and Rab's "activities" off the field this view should now be questioned

"You ask on your website if anyone has any information on Rab. I have done quiet a bit of research and written a novel about him. Official launch on 22nd Feb at the Copthorne, Sheffield. I've put more stuff on my website 
He didn't marry the second time: to Ada. They just lived together. She was Ada McGrail: family ran a fruit and veg shop on Bridge Street. One of Rab and Ada's great grandsons still lives in Preston.

I don't believe he was sacked due to match fixing. There is no evidence for it. Match reports do not give a reading to anything other than bad luck at the Sunderland game. Also I do not believe that Needham would have even mentioned him in his book if there had been such corruption at the heart of it. I believe the match fixing rumour was made up to fit known facts at the time. The bigger scandal, that required the club (founded on good Methodist principles) to cover it up, was him going off with another woman whilst still married."
It is a perfectly feasible explanation and one that would be churlish to ignore. Rab had always been a thorn in the side of the United directors, and it is possible in the light of the Sunderland game that they "played up" Rab's performance and inferred that he thrown the game. It is also true that Sheffield football at the time was dominated by men who had strong Christian and Temperance beliefs and they would have been aghast at the way Rab was conducting his life off the field.

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