Airdrie, Lanarkshire born centre forward John Proudfoot began his senior football career with Scottish League club Partick Thistle in 1893, making his debut against Dundee Wanderers at Inchview in August 1894, and scored 25 goals in 35 appearances. He represented Glasgow against East of Scotland in 1894 and Sheffield in 1895 before being signed by First Division club Blackburn Rovers in the 1896 close season, making his Football League debut against Bury in February 1897, scoring in 2-1 home defeat. He then scored braces in each of his next two first team outings, in back to back wins over Everton the next month, and played in four further matches before the season end. He was a regular in Rovers’ 1897-98 campaign as they struggled in the lower reaches of the First Division, although Proudfoot’s 9 goals as he missed just one match left him as Rovers’ top goalscorer.
Proudfoot signed for Everton in the summer of 1898 after 14 goals in 38 matches for Rovers, scoring on his debut in a 2-1 win over his former club Blackburn Rovers, and was Everton’s top goalscorer with 13 goals in his debut season as they finished 4th in the League Championship. But he lost his place at the start of the 1901-02 campaign and played only 7 matches as Everton finished runners up, joining Southern League club Watford in the summer of 1902 after 31 goals in 89 appearances for The Toffees. After half a season at Cassio Road he was suspended for “insubordination” in December 1902 and returned to Partick Thistle in 1903, scoring a further 5 goals in 17 appearances for The Jags before a move to newly promoted Hamilton Academical in the summer of 1904, where he scored 10 goals in 13 appearances during 1904-05 before his retirement, including scoring twice on his debut at home to Abercorn.
His brothers David, George, Lawrence and William all played for Partick Thistle.