Paul Canoville was born in Hillingdon, London. Starting out playing for non-league Hillingdon Borough, Canoville signed for Chelsea in 1981. He made his debut against Crystal Palace in April 1982 aged 20. He joined Reading in 1986, where his career ended due to injury. He now lives in London, he is an ambassador for the 'Kick it Out' campaign and regularly talks to schools about his experiences.