Little has previously managed Darlington, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Hull City, Tranmere Rovers, Wrexham, and Jersey. As a player, he was a versatile forward who spent his entire playing career at Aston Villa. He made one appearance at International level for England as a substitute against Wales in 1975.
On leaving school in 1970, Little signed for Aston Villa who had just been relegated to the Third Division for the first and only time in their history. He made his senior debut on 30 October 1971, in a 4–1 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Third Division at Villa Park. By 1973–74, with Villa in the Second Division, he was a regular first team player. He progressed through the youth ranks, winning an FA Youth Cup winners' medal along the way. He made 247 appearances for the club and scored 60 goals, and made one full international appearance for England in 1975.
He was part of Villa's League Cup winning teams of 1975 and 1977, scoring two goals in the second replay victory over Everton in the latter final, as well as helping the club climb from the Third to First Division in the early part of the decade, scoring 20 league goals in the 1974–75 season when they were runners-up and clinched promotion to the First Division. His playing career came to a halt in 1980 when he retired at the age of 26 due to a knee injury.
The injury was discovered when Little was undergoing a medical at Villa's local rivals Birmingham City. This meant his intended transfer there was cancelled. He was a flamboyant forward who formed a particularly prolific partnership with Andy Gray. Little is regarded as an all-time great at Villa Park, and in 2007 he was named as one of the 12 founder members of the Aston Villa Hall of Fame.
Although his playing career was over, Little remained on the Aston Villa payroll as youth team coach. When manager Tony Barton was sacked in the summer of 1984, Little's contract was also terminated and he became first-team coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers.