Spurs signed James Devlin from Airdrie at the same time as Bill Crump, who he had played alongside at Hereford Thistle on loan the year previously. The midfielder had a turbulent time off the pitch during his one season with Tottenham, albeit he was a consistent performer on it.
Starting his playing days with Dundee, he moved to Airdrie and then went on the previous season to signing on loan with Hereford Thistle. Playing at half back, he impressed during the first three-quarters of the season, but he, along with Miliken, McElaney and Wilson were suspended because of what was referred to as "insubordination", thus missing the run-in at the end of the campaign.
Despite this, Spurs offered a new deal for another season, but Tottenham once more suspended the player, because they had found out that he had signed a deal with rivals Millwall Athletic. The suspension was to last all season, but the matter was resolved when he was transferred to Millwall during October 1897.
The whole affair had been unsavoury, but ultimately quite pointless, as he only played a few games for the South London club before he left for Sunderland, returning shortly after to sign for Woolwich Arsenal. Illness then hampered his career, as he only got to play once for the South London side before heading home for Airdrie to finish his career in Scotland.