Norton-on-Tees born wing half Rowland “Ralph” Codling started his football career with West Hartlepool in 1899 and Stockton St John’s in 1900 before joining Southern League Swindon Town in September 1901, making 14 appearances for Swindon in the 1901-02 season. He signed for League Champions elect Sunderland in March 1902 and spent 1902-03 at Roker Park without making an appearance for their first eleven, before joining Stockport County in October 1903, making his Football League debut against Bristol City the same month and making 30 appearances for The Hatters in 1903-04.
In May 1905 he moved to London joining Clapton Orient where he played in Clapton Orient’s first ever Football League match, a 1-2 away defeat to Leicester Fosse on 2nd September 1905 and scored his only career goal against Grimsby Town in October 1905, making a further 28 appearances before being transferred to First Division Aston Villa in March 1906, making his debut the same month against Preston North End. He was a regular performer for Villa in 1906-07 and 1907-08 as Villa finished 5th and then as runners up in the League, but lost his place in the autumn of 1908 and moved to Southern League Northampton Town in July 1909. However he only made 3 appearances for The Cobblers before joining Croydon Common in October 1909.
He made 32 appearances for Common, before he was sold to First Division Manchester City in August 1910, making 5 League appearances for The Citizens that autumn before losing his place. He then joined non league Denton in October 1911 before moving to Southern League Merthyr Town in May 1914 before his career was ended by the First World War.