James Norwood had the briefest of first-team careers with Exeter City but went on to become a consistent goal scorer over an extended period of time at several clubs including Forest Green, Tranmere, Ipswich and Barnsley.
James was an England Schools under-18 player when, as a sixth-former, he made his debut for Isthmian League Eastbourne Town. After coming to Exeter on trial he signed for City in July 2009 with his wages being subsidised by the 1931 Fund. With City suffering a spate of injuries in pre-season, he was to go straight into the first-team against Leeds on the first day of the season. He played another three games during August 2009 before joining Sutton United on loan. He was never to appear in the City first-team again and, following further loans at Forest Green and Eastbourne Borough, was released in May 2011.
James joined Forest Green in June 2011 and, over four seasons, played 163 Conference games scoring 48 goals. Then in May 2015 he signed for Tranmere Rovers with whom he was to win back-to-back promotions and make 173 league appearances netting 87 times. In June 2019 he headed to Ipswich Town where, in three injury-hampered seasons, he made 77 league appearances scoring 26 goals in the process.
When James signed for Barnsley on an initial one-year deal in July 2022 he had scored 161 goals in 413 league games over eleven seasons since leaving St James Park. At the end of 2022/23 James appeared as a substitute in Barnsley's losing play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday prior to joining National League Oldham Athletic on a two-year deal in August 2023.