Guisborough, North Riding of Yorkshire born centre forward Billy Dinsdale played junior football for Rise Carr in 1920 before joining Darlington as an amateur in August 1921, making his Football League debut against Tranmere Rovers in February 1922, playing twice for them in their inaugural League season. Later that year he returned to amateur football with Darlington Railway Athletic and subsequently had a trial with York City, for whom he played one Midland League match in February 1923, before a return of 42 goals from 35 games for Northern League club Crook Town in the 1924-25 season earned him a transfer to First Division Aston Villa. He played five matches for Villa in what remained of that season, but the following year appeared only three more times for the first team, as cover for injuries or international absences, despite a good scoring record in the reserves.
He moved on to Lincoln City of the Third Division (North) in May 1926. Although he scored in his first game for the club, against Southport on the opening day of the 1926-27 season, he was relegated to the reserves. His regular scoring earned him a first team place a few months later, whereupon he scored 25 goals in just 27 League and FA Cup games, including 4 goals in a 5-0 win over Durham City in April 1927 after scoring twice against them the previous day, to become the club’s leading scorer for the season.
He top-scored again the following season with 29 goals, scoring in 10 consecutive matches between August and October 1927, and was described on a 1928 cigarette card as having “established himself as one of the most dangerous marksmen” in the division, being “well equipped physically for the position he occupies”. After his third consecutive season as Lincoln’s leading scorer with 24 goals in 30 matches in 1928-29 including a hat-trick against Hartlepools United on Boxing Day 1928, a bid of £1,500 came in from Second Division club Bradford Park Avenue which Lincoln’s directors accepted and he joined Avenue in March 1929 after 78 goals in 100 appearances, and despite 3 goals for Avenue before the end of the season they narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight finishing third in the Second Division.
Dinsdale scored only once more during the 1929-30 season for Bradford, and returned to Lincoln for a £250 fee in May 1930 after 17 appearances for Bradford. For the fourth time in the four seasons he spent with the club, he top-scored with 25 more goals including hat-tricks against Barrow and Carlisle. Described in his club profile as a “big bustling centre forward who relied on his strength and enthusiasm rather than his football skills” who was popular with the supporters, Dinsdale scored 103 goals from only 136 appearances in all competitions for Lincoln City. He left the club to return to Darlington, where he played four more matches, scoring once before retiring from football in 1932.