Bristol born left half Ernie Brinton began his football career with Avonmouth Town in 1927 from where he signed for hometown Second Division club Bristol City in February 1930, making his Football League debut against Blackpool at the beginning of the following month. Brinton established himself as a first team regular from the following September, and despite their relegation in 1931-32, when he missed only 3 matches during the season, he stayed with The Robins for a further five seasons in the Third Division (South). A stylish and hard working player with good ball control, Brinton scored 9 goals in 271 appearances for Bristol City before signing for Newport County in June 1937.
At Somerton Park he formed part of the impressive Owen-Low-Brinton half back line and was a regular as Newport County won the 1938-39 Third Division (South) Championship, still the only major title in the club’s history, with Brinton missing only 3 matches. However his career was then severely interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, during which he played for Bristol City throughout most of it while working at Bristol Aerodrome. After the War he returned to Newport County and played in their 1945-46 FA Cup campaign, before joining Aldershot in August 1946 after 5 goals in 92 appearances for The Exiles. He had a single season at Aldershot making 13 appearances during their first post war campaign, before joining non league club Street in 1947, later playing for Chippenham Town in 1949-50 before his eventual retirement, already in his 40’s.
His younger brother Jack Brinton played with him at Bristol City and Newport County, and also played for Stockport County and Leyton Orient.