Wombwell, Yorkshire born winger Billy Clarkson began his football career with Padiham Town in 1912 and played Lancashire League football with Nelson, joining them in 1913 before the interruption of the First World War, and after the War he joined First Division Burnley, pretty much the country’s strongest team at the time, making his Football League debut against Bradford City in September 1919 followed by a second appearance against Bolton Wanderers the same month. Burnley finished runners up to West Bromwich Albion in the League Championship that season but would go one better the next season.
Clarkson moved to Rotherham County in the summer of 1920 and found the Second Division more to his ability, scoring twice in 66 appearances over the next two seasons for The Millers, missing only one match in 1920-21. A move to Luton Town in the 1922 close season saw him score 3 goals in 33 appearances for The Hatters but at the end of the season he was once again on the move, this time to Southport. His single goal in 19 appearances would prove his last in the Football League before he moved in 1924 to Midland League Scunthorpe & Lindsey United.