Coventry born inside forward Wally Smith began his football career in the Northamptonshire League with Rothwell Town in 1900 before joining Southern League club Kettering in 1901. After three seasons at Rockingham Road, during the third of which he netted 23 times, he moved to fellow Southern League club Northampton Town in 1904, having less than a single season for The Cobblers before being signed for £50 in March 1905 by Second Division Bradford City. He scored the only goal on his Football League debut in a 1-0 win over Leeds City on 2 September 1905, finishing the 1905-06 season as the club’s top goal-scorer with 24 goals, including a goal in the 5-0 victory against First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup and a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Leicester Fosse. He again topped the scoring charts for City the following season with 14 goals as City came fifth.
In 1907-08 he and Frank O’Rourke formed a lethal partnership to guide City to the Second Division Championship. Smith finished with 20 goals, one behind O’Rourke, including four against Chesterfield in an opening day 8-1 victory. However Smith struggled in Division One and he failed to find the net in 16 games, leaving The Bantams in January 1909 to Leicester Fosse after 58 goals in 120 appearances. His Leicester career lasted just six games before he moved to Hull City in March 1909, helping them finish 4th in the Second Division. The following season he scored 17 goals as they narrowly missed out on promotion, finishing third, and in total he spent four seasons at Anlaby Road, scoring 32 goals in 97 appearances before he was forced to retire from League football through injury, joining non league Worksop Town in 1912.