Preston, Lancashire born inside right William Eccleston began his football career with North Meols in 1893 from where he joined Second Division Grimsby Town in the close season of 1894, making his Football League debut against Leicester Fosse that September, scoring 14 goals in 33 appearances for The Mariners before joining First Division hometown club Preston North End in the summer of 1895. A fringe player in his first two seasons at Deepdale, he broke into the side with more regularity in September 1897 and was an ever present in 1898-99, being described as “scrupulously fair and clever with both feet”.
In the 1900 close season, after 6 goals in 78 appearances for The Lilywhites, he joined Southern League Kettering, staying four years before a move to Lancashire Combination club Oldham Athletic in 1904. After a season with The Latics he joined Barrow in 1905, before moving to Lancaster in 1906. He finally joined Clitheroe in 1908 before his eventual retirement.