Haydock, who worked as a school teacher at Furthergate School in Blackburn, made his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 27th September, 1890. However, he did not become a regular in the side until the 1893-94 season. An outside right he joined a forward line that included two English internationals, Harry Chippendale and Jimmy Whitehead. That season Blackburn finished in 4th place in the First Division of the Football League.
In 1894 Blackburn Rovers signed Patrick Gordon from Liverpool. Gordon replaced Haydock in the team. This upset the supporters and one man wrote to the local newspaper and claimed "Gordon is scarcely worth his place in the team after all. The wiseacres on the Rovers' committee think him a dashing outside-right. But he is not. Haydock is the best they have had for a long time."
Gordon's form was not good and Haydock eventually got his place back. On May, 1895 Gordon was sacked from the club for what was described as "refractory conduct" during a tour of Scotland. It was also stated that he refused to play for the reserve team after he was replaced by Haydock.
The 1895-96 season was a major disappointment. New signing Peter Turnbull, a centre-forward with a good goal scoring record when he played for Glasgow Rangers, Bolton Wanderers and Burnley, only managed seven in 25 games for Blackburn. The all-Scottish defence played well but the lack of goals resulted in the club finishing in 8th place in the league.
Bad health forced Haydock into retirement in 1896. During his time at Blackburn Rovers Haydock scored 21 goals in 66 games.
James Haydock died at the age of 27 on 24th March, 1900.
Gordon was an outside-right of some repute, but his arrival meant that Haydock was axed, much to the chagrin of the Blackburn faithful. Annoyance turned to anger when Gordon failed to live up to his reputation and one contemporary critic wrote: "Gordon is scarcely worth his place in the team after all. The wiseacres on the Rovers' committee think him a dashing outside-right. But he is not. Haydock is the best they have had for a long time."
At different times Jamie Haydock filled each of the forward positions, his favourite berth being outside right, to which he was drafted in 1894, on Chippendale being transferred to his correct position at outside left. Haydock and Whitehead quickly understood each other's methods, were adepts at short passing, and were so skilful that they frequently made rings round the best defenders.