Oldham, Lancashire born right half Billy Broadbent began his career playing rugby league with Droylesden in 1917 as a teenager but switched codes and started his football career with Wellington Albion in 1919. He signed amateur forms for First Division hometown club Oldham Athletic in April 1920, making his Football League debut against Bolton Wanderers in January 1921, his only appearance before turning professional the following November. He scored his only goal for Oldham in a 2-1 win over Arsenal on his next appearance for The Latics in December 1921, but he remained on the fringes at Boundary Park and made only 12 appearances during his four seasons at Oldham.
He joined Third Division (South) club Brentford in July 1924, spending a single season at Griffin Park, where he played 18 times during 1924-25, a season in which they struggled at the foot of the table, before a move to Clapton Orient in June 1925. He spent seven seasons at Millfields Road, missing only two matches in their 1927-28 campaign, and remained with them after their relegation from the Second Division in 1929, before joining Second Division Preston North End in the summer of 1932 after 8 goals in 209 appearances. But he only played twice for Preston in the late autumn of 1932 before moving to non league Manchester North End in 1933.