John joined Notts County from Leyton Orient in August 1981 for a fee of £600,000 a record fee at the time for the Magpies. He had started his career as a apprentice at Leyton Orient in 1977 aged 17 making 145 appearances and scoring 20 goals, he was a winger with blistering pace and scored 16 league goals from a 112 appearances for Notts.
At the end of 1983-84 season at Meadow Lane, Notts lost their fight against relegation from the First Division, so needing to raise money and with the speedy winger being one of the club's biggest assets, he was sold in August 1984 for a fee of £375,000 to Tottenham.
John had been unlucky with injuries throughout his career - a broken leg ruling him out of Leyton Orient's run to the 1978 FA Cup semi-final when he was a youngster - but the worst was still to come. His goal in a 2-0 win over Birmingham City on 16 April 1986 would prove to be his last not only as a Spurs player, but as a professional. A persistent back problem kept him out of contention for 18 months and after a solitary appearance in 1986-87, John missed the entire 1987-88 campaign. Not considered to be the same player, he was released on a free transfer to Derby County in August. John managed only two appearances and following further brief stints back at Notts and then Chesterfield, John ended his career at non-League Bashley.