Hebburn-on-Tyne, County Durham born centre forward Billy Devlin was signed by Second Division club Stockport County from Wallsend Park Villa in the summer of 1911, making his Football League debut that September at Chelsea, playing 23 matches for The Hatters, scoring 3 goals. This was enough to persuade Southern League club Cardiff City, now managed by his former Stockport manager Fred Stewart, to sign him in September 1912 and he played for Cardiff both sides of the First World War, although never in The Football League, scoring 24 goals in 52 matches for The Bluebirds.
His return to League football came with nearby Newport County in 1920, having joined them from Cardiff when they too were playing Southern League football in November 1919, where he finished the club’s top scorer with 12 goals in their inaugural 1920-21 League season from 28 appearances, despite missing three months’ football mid season to injury problems.
He spent a further season at Newport bagging 13 goals in 35 matches and again finished their top scorer, his total including a hat-trick in an FA Cup replay victory over Wrexham in December 1921. He joined Exeter City in June 1922 after 31 goals in 86 appearances for The Ironsides, where he scored on his debut at Aberdare Athletic on the opening day of the 1922-23 season but only played 12 matches for The Grecians, scoring 5 goals, before his retirement in May 1923.