The son of a prison officer, Charlie Twissell was born in Singapore and moved with his family to Britain when he was seven. He served in the Royal Navy and played football for the Navy and during a spell based in Gibraltar also played for the territory in representative matches. Towards the end of his service he joined Plymouth Argyle and played 41 games, scoring nine goals, for The Pilgrims between 1955-58. During his time with the Devon team he won the first of his five amateur caps against Wales at Swansea in 1956 and later in the same year he played on the right wing for Great Britain in their two matches at the Melbourne Olympics, scoring two goals against Thailand. He joined York City in 1958 and in two seasons with them he played 51 matches and scored eight goals. He ended his career with Yorkshire non-league club Guiseley in 1961. During his time at York he once miss-hit a shot so badly in a game against Reading that the ball broke part of the floodlighting system.