Coleford, Somerset born centre forward Joe Wilcox began his football career with Coleford Athletic in 1912, playing for Frome Town and Welton Rovers in 1913, before moving to Abertillery in 1914. After the First World War he joined Second Division Bristol City in August 1919, making his Football League debut at Nottingham Forest at the beginning of September, scoring in a 2-1 victory. Despite this good start he was restricted to 8 appearances in his debut season before breaking into the team in September 1920, when he missed only 4 games and was the club’s joint top scorer with 14 goals as Bristol City narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight, finishing third. However in a reversal of fortune they were relegated the following season, Wilcox only making 15 appearances, and he left Ashton Gate to join Bradford Park Avenue in September 1922 after 20 goals in 62 appearances for The Robins.
He was a fringe player in a strong Avenue side and made only 3 appearances in 1922-23 but featured more regularly in his second season, scoring 5 goals in 19 appearances, but he left to join New Brighton in July 1924. It was at Sandheys Park that he had the best season of his career, scoring 37 goals in 44 appearances with hat-tricks against Rochdale, Barrow and Ashington as New Brighton finished third in the Third Division (North). He was sold to Bristol Rovers in May 1925, where he top scored for the club with 19 goals in 35 appearances including 4 goals in a 7-2 thrashing of Bournemouth, yet despite this he was one of 15 players released at the season end, and one of four Bristol Rovers players who were signed by Queen’s Park Rangers in May 1926.
However he only scored twice in 9 appearances for Rangers during 1926-27 before moving to Gillingham in August 1927, where he returned to his best form with 27 goals in 1927-28, a total which included a hat-trick against Torquay United in April 1928. But his second season was less successful, and he left The Gills to join non league Kidderminster Harriers in the summer of 1929 after 29 goals in 60 appearances. He returned to the West Country in 1930 joining Taunton Town, before re-joining Frome Town in 1935 before his eventual retirement.