Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire born left back James Phizacklea began his football career with Barrow Hindpool Athletic after the First World War and played for Barrow Submarine Engine Athletic in 1920 before joining hometown Third Division (North) club Barrow in June 1921, making his Football League debut at Walsall in February 1922, establishing himself at left back for the rest of their inaugural League campaign. He was a regular performer, mainly at left back, during 1922-23, but less so in 1923-24, where he made several appearances at inside left and scored 3 goals from the position.
He was transferred to Nelson on a free in June 1924 after 76 appearances for Barrow, but had only played half a season for Nelson, making 21 appearances, when he was signed by First Division Preston North End for a fee of £1,000 in January 1925, but he couldn’t help save them from relegation at the season end after 15 top flight matches, and soon fell out of favour at Deepdale making only 7 further appearances for Preston the following late summer and early autumn.
In July 1926 he transferred to South Shields and missed only 3 matches in their 1926-27 campaign, but after their relegation in 1928 he left the club after 73 appearances, joining Southern League Thames Association. He then joined Stockport County in August 1930 but failed to break into their first team in 1930-31 and was transferred to Guildford City in 1931, later playing as an amateur for Roneo Sports of Romford.