Appley Bridge, Lancashire born left half Joe Edelston began his football career with junior clubs Appley Bridge in 1911 and St Helens Recreation in 1912 before joining Second Division Hull City, for whom he made his Football League debut against Fulham in March 1913. He soon established himself as a first team regular but his career was interrupted by the First World War, after which he returned to Hull City and played a further season at Anlaby Road, being included in the 1920 FA Tour to South Africa before transferring to First Division Manchester City later in the close season of 1920 after 117 appearances for The Tigers.
Opportunities were limited at City and he only played 6 times that autumn (they finished runners up in the League Championship), and he returned to the Second Division with Fulham in November 1920. So started a 17 year association at Craven Cottage, initially as a player where he made 71 appearances through to February 1925, and subsequently as coach, reserve team manager and for two spells caretaker manager from February to August 1934 and from February to May 1935. In 1937 he joined Brentford as assistant manager before becoming manager of Reading in April 1939, a war interrupted position he held until June 1947 albeit in that time he only oversaw 54 peacetime matches.
His son Maurice was also an England Amateur international footballer who played for Fulham, Brentford, Reading and Northampton Town both sides of the Second World War and was later a successful sports broadcaster.