Radcliffe, Lancashire born centre half Elliot Pilkington started his football career with Radcliffe St Thomas’s in 1907 and joined Rossendale United in April 1908 before playing for Salford United, joining them in January 1909. He then joined First Division Oldham Athletic in May 1910 from Salford United and made his Football League debut against Notts County in December 1911. Largely a fringe player initially, by the time The First World War forced the suspension of football in 1915 Pilkington had at last become a first team regular playing most of their fixtures from November 1914 to the end of the season.
He resumed peacetime football with Oldham Athletic after the War, and rarely missed any games in the first six peacetime seasons, although they were relegated from the First Division in 1923. By the time he played his last Latics game in April 1926 he had scored 15 goals in 280 appearances, and he joined non league Llandudno in September already aged 36, moving to Macclesfield Town in the summer of 1927 where he scored once, his goal coming in their 3-0 home win against Altrincham in September 1927, in 9 appearances through to October 1927 before his retirement.