London born goalkeeper Joe Hughes started with Tufnell Park in 1909 and joined West Ham United from South Weald in 1911, making his West Ham debut in a 2-1 victory in the Southern League against Millwall that November. He featured in two notable FA Cup giant killing acts for West Ham as they first knocked out Middlesbrough 2-1 in a second round replay in February 1912 before beating the previous year’s FA Cup finalists West Bromwich Albion 3-0 in a first round second replay at The Hawthorns in January 1913. He stayed 4 seasons at West Ham making 105 appearances and also played for them in wartime football during the First World War, when he also appeared as a guest for Chelsea.
After the end of hostilities he joined First Division Bolton Wanderers for £350 making his Football League debut against Bradford Park Avenue in August 1919, sharing the goalkeeper’s gloves during the first two post war seasons with Frank Drabble and Freddy Hinton, and making 41 appearances for The Trotters before joining Charlton Athletic in the summer of 1921. He only played one season at The Valley making 19 appearances, he then spent 1922-23 at Clapton Orient as understudy to the consistent Arthur Wood but failed to make their first eleven before retiring from the professional game.