Carlisle, Cumbria born outside right John Morley began his football career with Lancashire Combination club Workington from where he was signed by First Division club Sunderland in 1907, making his Football League debut at Aston Villa that September and scoring his only goal in 5 matches for The Wearsiders two weeks later on his home debut in a win over Preston North End. He was transferred to Second Division club Burnley in the 1908 close season where he remained a regular in the first team for the next three seasons. Having lost his place in October 1911, he played only twice more for Burnley before transferring to local rivals Preston North End in March 1912 after 18 goals in 108 appearances for The Clarets.
He couldn’t help save Preston from relegation at the season end despite helping them win 4 of his 10 games on the run in, but he missed only 3 matches in their 1912-13 campaign as Preston immediately won the Second Division Championship to return to the top flight at the first time of asking, and Morley scored all three goals in a 3-2 win at Glossop on New Year’s Day 1913 as The Lilywhites went to the top of the table for the first time that season. However after Preston fared no better back in the top flight and were relegated once more from the First Division in 1913-14, he again helped Preston to immediate promotion in 1914-15, when they finished Second Division runners up in the final season of peacetime football before the onset of the First World War forced its suspension in May 1915. The War effectively ended Morley’s career after 15 goals in 96 appearances for Preston, and he continued to represent them throughout the War in wartime league football. After the War and already in his 30’s he played for Dick Kerr’s XI in 1919 before retiring from the game.