Lord was born in Chadderton, near Oldham, Lancashire. He began his career with Rochdale, where he scored 54 goals in 122 league games during eight seasons with the club. His goal-ratio improved with Crewe Alexandra, who he joined in 1961. Lord spent a little over two seasons with Crewe and scored 68 league goals in 108 appearances. He scored four hat-tricks in 1961–62 and eight in total to set a new club record. He signed with Plymouth Argyle in November 1963 and was the club's leading goalscorer in his first season. Lord was also joint-leading scorer in 1964–65 with Mike Trebilcock. In February 1966, he moved to Stockport County after scoring 23 times in 69 league games for Argyle and six more in seven cup ties. His form at Stockport, 18 goals in 27 league appearances, prompted a move to Blackburn Rovers later that year.
He scored once in 10 league games for Blackburn before joining Chesterfield in 1967. He returned to Plymouth Argyle in October 1967 to work as a player-coach under the management of Billy Bingham, having scored six times in 12 league games for Chesterfield. While his main role was coaching, Lord did play occasionally when others were injured. He scored two more goals in nine league and cup games in 1968–69 before retiring from playing. Lord went on to coach at Crystal Palace and Preston North End, where he also served as caretaker manager in 1973. He managed Cape Town City in South Africa for several years, where he won the Manager of the Year award in 1977, before becoming Hereford United manager in December 1979; a position he held until September 1982.