Although born in Essex, John Stephenson was raised on Merseyside and that was where his footballing career began.
His first experience was with Liverpool reserves as an amateur, but he then stepped up to play for New Brighton Tower, a new team who had a place in the Football League. After three seasons with the club, winning the Lancashire League with them, John moved to play for Swindon Town, where he was the mainstay of their defence, being able to play in either full back position.
In the reserves, John was an ever-present in the London League Division 1 in 1902-03 playing 18 games, in the South Eastern League 22 games and in 1903-04, he featured in 16 out of 24 games in the South Eastern League.
Stephenson retired from football in 1904 because of injury.
Was a decent cricketer in his time.
John Stephenson died at the age of 33 of pneumonia in January 1908.