Wally Smith was born in Lincoln, Lincolnshire in 1874. Wally played local football in the Lincoln area before joining Lincoln City. He scored 23 goals from 99 appearances in senior competition, the last of which was at the end of the 1902–03 season. He joined Second Division club Small Heath, but never made a competitive appearance, and went on to play for Midland League club Newark.
Wally joined Brighton & Hove Albion in 1906 and played 42 matches scoring 9 goals. In 1907 he left for Norwich City.