Hapton, near Burnley, Lancashire born left back James Astin was “a product of the Burnley Sunday School League” according to the 1922-23 Lancashire Daily Post Football Handbook, from where he signed for local First Division Champions Burnley, making his Football League debut against Huddersfield Town in December 1921, playing at right back, and he then featured at left back in a further twelve Burnley matches between February and April 1922. He replaced Burnley’s experienced left back David Taylor with Cliff Jones also unavailable, as Burnley finished third in their League Championship defence.
The Post continued, describing him as “a splendid find last season on gaining promotion as a left full back. Rapidly developing into a finished player. Has a clean kick and tackles well”. Taylor and Jones already well established, he transferred to Second Division club Bury during the 1922 close season, spending 1922-23 at Gigg Lane, although he never played for The Shakers’ first eleven, and the remaining details of his playing career are uncertain.