Sheffield born right half Joe Roulson signed for Second Division club Birmingham in 1912 from his works team, Cammell Laird of the Sheffield Works League, and made his Football League debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 1913. He was a competitive, “hard-man” type of half back, similar to his team mate Percy Barton.
He played for Birmingham both before and after the First World War, making 125 appearances in all competitions and scoring 4 goals, and helped them win the Second Division Championship in 1920-21, although he lost his place at the start of the next season and only got back into the team on Boxing Day, playing 15 times before the season end in what proved his only campaign in the top flight.
After leaving Birmingham he joined Third Division (South) club Swansea Town in the 1922 close season scoring 2 goals in 55 matches as they narrowly missed out on promotion in 1922-23 and 1923-24, finishing 3rd and 4th in the division. Roulson then joined Clapton Orient in the summer of 1924, making 16 appearances for the East Londoners before he returned to Sheffield in 1925, retiring from professional football.