New Whittington, Derbyshire born inside forward Ernie Gadsby began his football career with New Whittington Exchange and joined Second Division club Chesterfield Town in May 1904, making his Football League debut at Liverpool in January 1905. Very much a fringe player during four seasons at Saltergate, he scored twice in 15 appearances for The Spireites from the inside left or centre forward berths, before joining Denaby United in 1908, also playing for Mexborough Town the same year.
From there he was signed by Second Division club Barnsley in May 1909 and, playing at inside right, he became a regular in The Tykes’ first team, scoring a hat-trick in a 7-1 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of October 1909, second top scoring with 15 goals during the campaign behind George Lillycrop. And what a famous campaign it was! Gadsby score 3 of his goals in their 9 tie run that saw them reach the FA Cup Final, opening the scoring in the FA Cup semi final replay when they beat Everton 3-0 at Old Trafford. In the Final Gadsby played in both matches against Newcastle United, a 1-1 draw at The Crystal Palace was followed by a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
Gadsby scored once in 9 appearances the following season for Barnsley before being sold to First Division club Bristol City in December 1910 after 16 goals in 52 appearances for Barnsley, but the move was not a success. Gadsby scored once in 10 matches before losing his place in February and played just once more in April as Bristol City were relegated at the season end. Released, Gadsby joined Midland League club Castleford Town and then Southern League club Reading later in 1911, spending two seasons at Elm Park before returning to Midland League football with Worksop Town in 1913.
But he returned to Football League action in May 1914, signing for Glossop, scoring 6 goals in 34 appearances playing inside left in what proved to be Glossop’s final season as a League club and the final season before the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915. In January 1918, three and a half years after the outbreak of the First World War, Gadsby was called up to serve as a gunner in The Royal Field Artillery. He was posted to the Western Front in April 1918 and was gassed, also suffering trench fever. After the War Gadsby returned to non league football, playing for New Whittington Exchange in 1919, Clay Cross Town in 1920, Clay Cross Zingari in 1921 and Bentley Colliery later the same year before his eventual retirement.