Clowne, Derbyshire born outside left Joe Ball began his football career with Clowne White Star from where he was signed by Second Division Chesterfield Town in July 1903, making his Football League debut in a goalless draw at Leicester Fosse in September that year, scoring on his home debut against Blackpool a week later. Within a short period he was signed by First Division Bury in December 1903 after 3 goals in 10 appearances for The Spireites and he made his debut for Bury against Derby County at the end of the following February, his only appearance of the campaign for The Shakers.
His first team opportunities at Gigg Lane the following season were very limited, and he made only 3 more appearances for Bury, all in September 1904, before re-joining Chesterfield Town in August 1905. He then played a single season at The Recreation Ground, scoring 4 goals in 30 further appearances for The Spireites, before joining Midland League club Worksop Town in the summer of 1906. After a season at Worksop he joined Denaby United in 1907, before returning to his home town to join Clowne Town in 1908. He subsequently played for Mansfield Mechanics in 1910 before finishing his playing days with Clowne Rising Star in 1911.