Staveley, Derbyshire born goalkeeper Joe Lievesley played for Poolsbrook United from 1903 when he was spotted by First Division Sheffield United. He signed an amateur contract with the club in 1901 and played regularly in the reserves for three seasons before turning professional in 1903. Lieversley didn’t make his Football League debut until September 1904 when he played against Small Heath but he soon became the side’s first choice keeper, supplanting the legendary William Foulke. A consistent performer and rarely troubled by injuries he missed only six competitive games between November 1904 and December 1911, at one point playing 130 consecutive League and Cup games.
At a time when very few were awarded, Lievesley saved nine penalty kicks whilst with United, including two in one game against Manchester City in 1906. Lievesley played (and saved a penalty) in an England trial game in 1910 but was never selected for the full side. He did represent The Football League on one occasion against The Southern League at Stamford Bridge in April 1910, and also played on the FA Tour of South Africa in the summer of 1910.
After being a regular for eight seasons Lieversley was eventually replaced by Joe Mitchell and, after picking up an injury against Everton in what would be his last game in October 1912, he was given a free transfer to Woolwich Arsenal at the end of the 1912-13 season after 287 appearances for The Blades.
Despite his injury problems of the previous season Lievesley was virtually ever present for The Gunners and made 75 appearances in two seasons, missing only 3 games. Following the outbreak of the First World War, during which Lievesley served in the Royal Flying Corps, he returned north to play for Chesterfield Town until it was closed down by the FA for making illegal payments to players. After the end of the War Lievesley returned to his job as a miner and played for the Rossington Colliery side in 1919 until his retirement from football in 1921. As a good cricketer, he also played for Sheffield United Cricket Club during the summer months.
Lievesley was the nephew of Sheffield United full back Harry Lilley. His brothers Fred and Wilf were also professional footballers, as were three of his sons: Leslie, Dennis and Ernest (Fred). Of his sons, Leslie played for Doncaster Rovers, Manchester United, Torquay United and Crystal Palace, Dennis for Aldershot and Fred for Manchester City, Southend United and Rotherham United.