Lancashire-born Joe Coleburne played in Exeter City’s first-ever Football League game in 1920. Making 75 appearances for the club in the competition either side of a spell with Swindon Town, he originally joined Exeter from Atherton and finally left for Taunton.
A son of a colliery labourer, he had two spells with Exeter City the first beginning in 1919 when the Grecians were still in the Southern League. Signing from Atherton he made 42 appearances during 1919/20 prior to the club's election to the Football League in 1920. He then featured in City's opening Third Division game against Brentford on 28 August 1920 as he went on to play in thirty league games that season. Getting married on the morning of 12 February 1921 he played in the afternoon against Grimsby Town with the club's directors presenting him with a small cheque to 'mark his bravery in getting married!’
At the end of the 1920/21 season he signed for Swindon Town before returning to St James’ Park in time for the 1923/24 season. He quickly re-established himself in the team and only missed three matches. He also scored three goals, the first coming against Brentford in April 1924. Only featuring six times in the following season he joined Taunton during the summer of 1925.
He later became a publican and was landlord of the Hour Glass Inn in Exeter for 24 years. He became a head ARP warden during the war and in the late 1950s was scouting for Exeter City.
Joe Coleburne, blind for the final months of his life and living in Hamlin Lane in Exeter, died in March 1979 leaving a widow and three married daughters.