Manchester-born Samuel Johnson, signing from Blackpool and leaving to join Coventry, appeared in Exeter City's first-ever professional fixture against Millwall in the Southern League in September 1908. It was the first of twenty-three league appearances he made for the club.Playing in the Manchester area with Newton Heath Albion, he then played for Colne in the Lancashire Combination. After one season there, he joined Blackpool scoring one goal in 34 league outings.
Linking up with Exeter City in the summer of 1908 as one of City's first professionals, he made his debut at Millwall on 2 September 1908 in the opening game of the season as City made their bow in the Southern League.
Although he was to feature in half of City’s matches that season, he left after one season and signed for Coventry City before moving to Leeds City for the 1911/12 season where he made seven league appearances scoring one goal. Staying just one season at the Yorkshire club he did not play professionally after that.