Pinxton, Derbyshire born inside left Walter “Wally” Radford played in local junior football as a youth before joining Wolverhampton Wanderers, then in the First Division, as a trainee, making his Football League debut at Woolwich Arsenal in February 1906. He made one further first team appearance in the 1905-06 season, at the end of which The Wolves were relegated.
In January 1906, he moved to the south coast to join Southampton of the Southern League. The Saints finished the season as runners-up, and were hopeful of regaining the Championship title in 1907, which they had won six times in the previous ten years. Radford made his debut in the opening match of the 1906-07 season, playing at centre-forward; after the team picked up only one point from the first three matches, Radford moved to outside right, with Fred Harrison moving into the centre. This had little effect on the team’s performances, and Radford lost his place to Frank Jefferis. Radford was recalled at the end of the season, initially replacing George Harris at inside-left, before three games back at centre-forward. In the first of these, away to Northampton Town on 6th April, Radford scored his only goals from 9 appearances for the Saints, a brace in a 4-2 victory. Saints finished the season 11th in the League, their lowest position since joining the Southern League in 1894.
In the summer of 1907, Radford returned to Molineux to rejoin his former club, now starting their second season in the Second Division. Radford made 26 League appearances in the 1907-08 season, scoring nine goals. In the FA Cup, Radford’s goals at Bury and Stoke helped Wolves reach the semi-final against his former club, Southampton. In the semi-final, played at Stamford Bridge, Radford and another former Southampton player, George Hedley, scored the goals to put Wolves into the Final. In the FA Cup Final, played at The Crystal Palace on 25th April 1908, Wolves met Newcastle United. Despite playing one of the top teams from the First Division, Wolves upset the odds by winning the match 3-1, with goals by Kenneth Hunt, Hedley and Billy Harrison.
In the following season, Wolves’ defence of the Cup ended at the first hurdle, where Radford’s three goals couldn’t prevent Crystal Palace of the Southern League going through after a replay. In the League, Radford scored 21 goals from 37 appearances, making him the club’s top-scorer. Radford remained at Molineux for one further season, before dropping down to non-league football with Southport Central of the Lancashire Combination in 1910 having scored 48 goals in 92 appearances during his second spell at the club.
Radford later returned to Derbyshire and in 1919 became a referee in the Erewash Amateur League, before progressing to the Football League list of referees.