Len Appleton, from the South Lancashire coalfield like several other Exeter City players of the the time, was a member of the club's first-ever Football League starting XI against Brentford in August 1920. Having had six years at Blackpool, sandwiching a short wartime stint at Bolton Wanderers, he was a somewhat typical Arthur Chadwick signing from the North West of England. Staying at St James' Park for a solitary season, he moved on to join Southport.
Working as a colliery clerk, and having played for Scowcroft Colliery, he spent a season at Atherton where he was a team mate of future Exeter City player Joe Coleburne. He then signed for Blackpool where he was considered an 'utility player' and, aside from a brief spell with Bolton Wanderers in wartime football, he remained with the seaside club for the best part of six years in spite of only making 33 league appearances.
Although versatile he was primarily an outside-right and, having helped Blackpool's reserves to the Central League championship in 1920, he signed for Exeter City a few months later. Making his debut in the club's first-ever game in the Football League against Brentford on 28 August 1920, he often displayed his speed and cleverness on the wing as he became a popular member of the team playing 37 league games during 1920/21 and scoring twice.
Consequently there may have been disappointment amongst the club's followers when he departed for Southport, and a return to Lancashire, after a single season at St James' Park.
Len Appleton died in the Wigan area in 1970 close to where he was born and grew up.