Morpeth, Northumberland born goalkeeper Joe Robinson represented Northumberland Schools and played junior football for Morpeth Town in 1935, joining North Eastern League club Ashington in 1936. Signed by Third Division (North) club Hartlepools United in May 1938, Robinson made his Football League debut at Darlington in September the same year and made 13 appearances for The Monkey Hangers before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. During the War he served in the Armed Forces and was taken prisoner of war at Dunkirk and remained a POW for five and a half years, but after his return following the conflict he signed for First Division club Blackpool in July 1946 where he was understudy to Jock Wallace.
Robinson took over the gloves from Wallace for their FA Cup third round win over Leeds United in January 1948 and played all 6 FA Cup ties which culminated in the 1948 FA Cup Final at Wembley, which Blackpool lost 4-2 to Manchester United. He had made a total of 31 appearances for Blackpool, but lost his place that September and was succeeded in The Seasiders’ goal by George Farm. Robinson moved to Hull City in February 1949 playing 4 matches as they won the Third Division (North) Championship, where he was initially understudy to Billy Bly, but he took over the gloves in September 1950 and was the principal goalkeeper in 1950-51 campaign before again losing his place to Bly, sharing the gloves with Bly in 1952-53, his final appearance for The Tigers coming in April 1953 by when he had made 77 appearances for Hull City. He moved to non league Wisbech Town in July 1953 and remained in charge until 1956.