Born in Belfast, Campbell started his career at Aston Villa, making his professional debut in 1974. He failed to establish himself in the first team, making 10 league appearances for the club before being sold to Huddersfield Town in 1975. He joined Sheffield United in 1977, but left the club after just one season. He briefly returned to Huddersfield Town for a second spell before signing for Halifax Town.
In December 1979, he joined Bradford City. He made over 300 appearances for the club, and became the club's all-time leading goalscorer with a total of 143 goals. Whilst at Bradford he won promotion from Division Four in the 1981-82 season and the Football League Division Three title in 1984–85, the latter of which paled into insignificance when 56 spectators were killed in a stand fire while playing Lincoln City in the final game of the season.