Glen Wilson was born in 1929 in Winlaton, County Durham. He attended High Spen Senior School and was capped by England at schoolboy level during the Second World War. He joined Newcastle United in 1945, but was soon called up for National Service and based in Hampshire
While there, he was spotted by Brighton & Hove and turned professional with the Seagulls in September 1949. His older brother Joe had recently come to the end of a long playing career with Albion and was on the coaching staff.
Wilson made his debut later that month, became a regular in the side during the 1950–51 season, and remained a regular for the next ten years. He was rated highly enough to represent the Third Division South three times in the annual fixture against the Northern Section, and attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa.
He captained Albion to the 1957-58 Third Division South title and played on for two seasons in the Second Division before joining Exeter City as player-manager.