Bolton born inside left Jimmy Heathcote was on the books of his hometown club Bolton Wanderers prior to the First World War without playing for their first eleven, playing Army football during the conflict. He joined Second Division Blackpool in March 1919, making his Football League debut against Leeds City after peacetime football resumed in August 1919. At the end of his debut season he scored all 3 goals in a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest in May 1920. He was an ever present and club top scorer with 18 goals the following season, and scored 34 goals in 98 games during his time at Bloomfield Road.
He signed for Notts County for a £1,500 transfer fee in June 1922, but although he helped them win the Second Division Championship with a goal in a dozen appearances, his return was disappointing and he joined non league Pontypridd in the summer of 1923, before returning to Football League action with Lincoln City in June 1924. After 13 goals in 34 games at Sincil Bank, including hat-tricks in wins over Ashington and Chesterfield, he joined Midland League Mansfield Town in the May 1925, where he scored 21 goals in 35 appearances as The Stags finished Midland League runners up, but Heathcote again returned to the Football League the next summer signing for Coventry City who bought him for £400 in July 1926.
He scored plenty of goals for Coventry in his two seasons there, being top scorer in his second season and 2nd top in his first to Fred Herbert despite bagging 21 goals, a total that included hat-tricks in wins over Bournemouth and Brentford. His return of 36 goals in 68 games proved his last Football League action. Although he moved on to Accrington Stanley in January 1929 he didn’t make their first eleven, and retired from professional football already aged 35.