Stockton, County Durham born inside forward Bill Godley started his career with South Bank in 1901, a Northern League side from Middlesbrough. He was a prolific goal-scorer at that level and this led to a move to Second Division Middlesbrough in 1902, with Godley making his Football League debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day 1902. After two seasons, and just one appearance a season for The Boro, he moved on to Stoke in 1904, where he also played just twice in his only season with the club.
In the close season of 1905 Godley moved to Southern League Plymouth Argyle and much was expected of a player who could play at inside or outside-left, or centre forward. The 1905-06 Argyle handbook described him as “fast, knows the game and shoots well. Should be up in the scoring department at the end of the season”. However, he could not make a big impact on the Argyle first team and moved on at the end of the campaign, joining Reading after only 8 appearances, scoring twice. He spent a season at Elm Park and went on to play for New Brompton in 1907 before returning to the North East to finish his career with Darlington in 1908.