Cockfield, County Durham born outside left Norman Kirby began his football career with Cockfield St Mary’s in 1924, and played for Raby United and Evenwood Town in 1925, West Auckland Town in 1926, as well as Shildon and Cockfield in 1927 before trialling with Manchester United in February 1928, unsuccessfully. He joined Stockport County as an amateur the following month, making his Football League debut, and only appearance for The Hatters, at outside left in a 1-0 win over Crewe Alexandra towards the end of March 1928.
Early the following season he had unsuccessful trials with Doncaster Rovers and returned to north east non league football with Crook Town, before joining First Division Bury that December, making his top flight debut in a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in February 1929 and scoring in a 3-1 win over Birmingham four weeks later, his only goal in 5 appearances for The Shakers as they were relegated at the end of the season. He stayed at Gigg Lane in 1929-30 but failed to make any further appearances before joining Swindon Town in June 1930, where he was an ever present in 1930-31.
After a further season with The Robins he joined Irish League club Distillery in the summer of 1932, having scored 10 goals in 68 appearances for Swindon, and after a season in Ireland he joined Scottish League Dundee in 1933. He played for The Dark Blues throughout the rest of the 1930’s, converting into a right full back. His career was effectively ended by the Second World War, during which he is known to have guested for Liverpool.