Wolverhampton born full back Billy Tuft (he could play both sides) began his football career with Coseley United before joining hometown First Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in July 1896, making his Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers in 1898, his only first team appearance of his debut season. A fringe player over the next two seasons at Molineux, making a further 7 appearances, he joined Second Division Walsall in July 1900, and missed only one match for The Saddlers in a season in which they lost their League status, having failed to gain re-election, Tuft having made 38 appearances at left back.
He joined Second Division club Bristol City in July 1901, signed by manager Sam Hollis for their inaugural season in the Football League having been elected in place of Walsall, and Tuft made his debut at right back in their first ever League fixture, a 2-0 win at Blackpool that September. Tuft was an ever present that season and missed only 4 matches in the next three seasons as City finished 4th each season in the Second Division making 33 appearances in 1902-03 at right back, 32 appearances in 1903-04 at left back and 33 appearances in 1904-05 mainly at left back, as Bristol City finished fourth in the division three seasons in a row.
After 5 appearances at left back in September 1905 he was replaced by Joe Cottle in their Second Division Championship winning season. Tuft was given a benefit match on 25th Feb 1907 when Bristol City played Southampton raising £140, before he retired that summer having made 151 appearances for The Robins.