Barking born full back Bill Oakes played for Barking Lads Institute in 1900 and joined Barking in 1901, subsequently playing for Clapton in 1902. From there he joined Southern League West Ham United, making his debut against Northampton Town in February 1904 and playing 14 times before the end of the season. He then joined Second Division Leicester Fosse in the 1904 close season and made his Football League debut at Blackpool the same September. Not a regular in his first season at Filbert Street, he played 29 times in 1905-06 as The Fossils finished a decent 7th in the Second Division. However, for whatever reason he only appeared once more, at Clapton Orient in October 1906, before his career was finished after 41 appearances.