Rotherham, Yorkshire born outside left Billy Death had joined local Midland League club Rotherham Town after the First World War and from there was signed by Second Division clubNotts County, making his Football League debut at Birmingham in February 1921. He struggled to break into the first team at Meadow Lane and only played twice for The Magpies as they won the Second Division Championship in 1923, whereupon after 4 goals in 23 games he joined Midland League club Mansfield Town, where he helped them to win the 1923-24 Midland League Championship.
He soon came onto the radar of First Division Sunderland and joined them a year later, making his debut at Burnley in September 1924 and playing 21 games the following season as they finished 3rd in the League Championship. However his opportunities became limited at Roker Park in 1927-28 and after 14 goals in 56 appearances for Sunderland he joined Exeter City in September 1928. Two seasons in Devon saw 7 goals in 27 games before he moved to Gillingham in August 1930, scoring 9 goals in 29 games for The Gills during 1930-31, before returning to Mansfield Town, by this time a Football League club, in June 1931. He scored 3 goals in 15 appearances for The Stags before moving into non league football with Grantham and Heanor Town in 1932, also playing for Sutton Town and City Transport of Nottingham before his eventual retirement.