Wednesfield, Staffordshire born inside forward John Smith started his football career with Cannock in 1900, playing for Stafford Road in 1901 before joining First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers, for whom he made his Football League debut against Derby County in September 1902. He had four seasons at Molineux, joint top scoring in 1904-05 with 14 goals in the campaign, but shortly before Wolves’ relegation in 1906 he was (surprisingly) sold to Small Heath (soon to be re-named Birmingham) in April 1906, having scored 43 goals in 114 appearances, playing 3 times for Small Heath before the season end, and scoring in a win over Blackburn Rovers, as they finished 7th in the First Division.
However he was a fringe player in 1906-07 at Birmingham, making only 3 more appearances before joining Southern League Bristol Rovers in 1907, where he became club captain and was described as “a consistent player, fast and tricky with the ball. A strong shot and scored many goals”. He spent the rest of his career in the Southern League, after a single season at Bristol Rovers, he played for Norwich City in 1908, Luton Town in 1909, before joining Millwall Athletic in 1910, and finally moving to Coventry City in 1912, where he made 17 appearances in 1912-13.