Mexborough, Yorkshire born centre half Bob Nicholdson began his football career with Mexborough Highthorne Mission, signing for First Division club Sheffield Wednesday in July 1913, making his Football League debut against Burnley in January 1914, one of 3 appearances he made during his debut season. But his career was then interrupted by the First World War, after which he signed for non league hometown club Mexborough Town in 1919. In November 1920 he was signed by First Division club Bradford Park Avenue, but he made only 3 appearances before Christmas in what proved a relegation season for Avenue.
Nicholson returned to the first eleven in September 1921 and played 15 matches through to December, but only two more matches the following spring as Bradford suffered back to back relegations, and he played 5 matches in the first half of their 1922-23 campaign before being released in 1923, when he joined non league club Wath Athletic. He played for Wombwell in 1924 and Denaby United in 1925, his last known club before his retirement.