Wigan, Lancashire born inside forward Billy Dickinson began his football career with New Springs in 1920 and played for Tophock from 1921 before signing for hometown Third Division (North) club Wigan Borough in April 1922 as an 18 year old. However he didn’t get to make his Football League debut, which came at Tranmere Rovers, until October 1925, but from December that year he was a first team regular, and in his breakthrough season he scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Wrexham on New Year’s Day and four goals as Wigan beat local rivals Nelson 5-0 in April 1926. He finished the season as Borough’s top goalscorer with 20 goals (as he did in all three of his seasons at Springfield Park) and he followed that with 28 strikes in 1926-27 including all three goals in a 3-0 win over Hartlepools United in October 1926 and four in a 5-2 win against Walsall that December. A further 17 goals in the 1927-28 campaign, including a hat-trick against Durham City in March 1928, was enough to persuade Second Division Nottingham Forest to sign him that June.
Despite scoring twice on his Forest debut at Swansea in September 1928, his first two seasons at The City Ground provided limited first team opportunities albeit he was a regular goalscorer when he played, but from February 1930 he was a regular in Forest’s line up. In 1930-31 his 18 goals included a hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Charlton Athletic in April 1931, and he was second in the club’s goalscoring charts to Johnny Dent. Over the following two seasons he was Forest’s top goalscorer both campaigns with 22 and 15 goals respectively, but despite a hat-trick in a 7-2 win over Bury in November 1933 he lost his place the following month and played only five more matches during the second half of 1933-34, before being transferred to Rotherham United in August 1934 after 73 goals in 143 appearances for Forest.
He was Rotherham’s leading goalscorer during his two seasons at Millmoor, with an impressive 26 goals during the 1934-35 campaign, when he was an ever present, and 20 more in 1935-36, before he joined Southend United in May 1936 after 46 goals in 77 appearances for The Millers. He had two seasons at The Southend Stadium, and his 19 goals in 1936-37 saw him top The Shrimpers’ goalscoring charts. He scored 31 goals in 68 appearances before his final move to Hull City in May 1938. He scored a hat-trick for Hull during their 11-1 demolition of Carlisle United in January 1939, still The Tigers’ record margin of victory, and after 5 goals in 19 appearances for Hull City he retired in 1939, already in his mid 30’s.