John Gordon was born in Glasgow in 1863. He worked in the local shipyards and played football for Port Glasgow Athletic.
He was a very good player and in 1888 Major William Sudell signed him to play for Preston North End. He played on the right wing and his crosses created lots of chances for fellow forwards, Jimmy Ross, John Goodall and Fred Dewhurst. Gordon also scored his fair share of goals. For example, he scored five against Hyde in the first round of the FA Cup in 1887-88.
The first season of the Football League began in September, 1888. Gordon scored in the third minute of Preston's first league game against Burnley. That season Preston North End won the championship without losing a single match. John Gordon also played the following season when Preston retained the title. As a result of their great success the team became known as the "Invincibles".
Gordon played his last game for Preston North End at Derby County in November, 1894. During his time at the club he scored 27 goals in 113 games. He played for Loughbrough Town but was forced to retire when he developed congestion of the lungs and pleurisy.