Macclesfield, Cheshire born outside right Joe Warrington began his football career with Derby Wanderers in 1900 before joining First Division Derby County in 1901, making his Football League debut at Nottingham Forest in March 1902. Although mainly a fringe player, in his second season at The Baseball Ground he played in five FA Cup ties, scoring 3 goals, including the 1903 FA Cup Final at The Crystal Palace, where Derby were thrashed 6-0 by Bury. In 1904 he was part of Derby’s losing FA Cup semi final team, beaten 1-0 by Bolton Wanderers at Molineux. It proved to be his last game for The Rams, and he joined Southern League Brentford in the 1904 close season after 11 goals in 38 appearances.
He stayed a single season at Brentford, scoring 5 goals in 33 appearances, before a transfer to Portsmouth in May 1905, where he scored 3 goals in 15 appearances before joining New Brompton (now Gillingham) in the summer of 1906. He scored once in 15 appearances for New Brompton but moved on again to hometown club Macclesfield, before returning to Football League action with Second Division Chesterfield Town in 1907. He scored once in 23 appearances for The Spireites before re-joining Macclesfield in 1910. He joined Leek United in 1911 and finished his career with Hurst, joining them in 1913.