Gornal, Staffordshire born left back Edward (also known as Arthur as per his middle name) Layton began his football career with Royston United in 1904 and spent the 1905-06 season on the books at Sheffield United during without making their first eleven, before joining first South Kirkby in 1906 and then Midland League club Rotherham Town in 1907, for whom he made his senior debut in an FA Cup First Round proper tie at West Ham United in January 1908, which they narrowly lost 1-0.
Clearly either this performance or others was good enough to convince First Division Aston Villa to sign him later that year, and he made his Football League debut for Villa at Manchester City that December. Over three seasons at Villa Park he was a fringe player, making only 17 appearances, 4 of which came as they won the League Championship in 1909-10, and in 1911 joined Middlesbrough, for whom he made a further 8 appearances in 1911-12.
His joined non league Whitby Town briefly in 1912 before travelling with his older brother Willie across Australia, where they played for a number of clubs. Whilst there Edward was ‘capped’ in a match between New South Wales and Queensland. They returned to England in 1914.
Layton then joined Southern League Cardiff City, for whom he played both sides of the First World War, and was part of their January 1920 FA Cup giant killing team that beat First Division club Oldham Athletic 2-0. His final 2 appearances for The Bluebirds came after they joined the Football League, Layton playing in their inaugural Football League fixture at Stockport County in August 1920 and then against Birmingham in September, before a transfer to Stockport County in December 1920, where he was made club captain and helped them to win the Third Division (North) Championship in 1921-22, missing only 7 matches. He made 61 appearances for The Hatters before retiring at the end of the 1922-23 season, already aged 38.
His older brother, Willie Layton, played for Chesterfield and had 13 seasons with Sheffield Wednesday, with whom he won the League Championship twice in 1903 and 1904, and the FA Cup in 1907.