The son of former Leicester Fosse and Aston Villa player Billy Dorrell, Birmingham born outside left Arthur Dorrell began his football career prior to the First World War with Carey Hall, and played Army football during the War while serving in the Royal Army Service Corps. With the conflict over, after featuring in the British Expeditionary Force team against Aldesrhot, he signed for First Division club Aston Villa in May 1919 and made his Football League debut at Derby County that September. In his debut season he played in the 1920 FA Cup Final, as Villa claimed the FA Cup for the sixth time with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge.
A regular for the next nine seasons, and an ever present in their 1921-22 campaign, Dorrell played 390 matches for Aston Villa between 1919 and 1931, scoring 65 goals and he was also an FA Cup runner up in 1924 when Aston Villa were beaten 2-0 by Newcastle United at Wembley. He was also an FA Cup semi finalist in 1929 as Villa lost to Portsmouth at Highbury, and soon after he lost his place in the Villa line-up, playing only 3 further matches in December 1929 before finishing his career with a season at Second Division club Port Vale, signing for them in June 1931 along with Dicky York “for a substantial fee”, and he scored 4 goals in 36 appearances for them in their 1931-32 campaign before his retirement at the end of the season, after helping The Valiants to narrowly avoid relegation. Upon his retirement as a player, he returned to Aston Villa as a coach.
He won 4 caps for England between December 1924, when he made his international debut in a 4-0 win over Belgium at The Hawthorns, and October 1925 when he won his final cap in a 0-0 draw with Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast, scoring once for his country in a 3-2 win against France in Paris in May 1925, He also twice represented The Football League.