Durham born goalkeeper Reg Parkinson began his football career with Esh Winning Juniors in 1930 and signed amateur forms with Sunderland in November 1931 without making a first team appearance during his time on their books. He joined Ferryhill Athletic in 1932 from where he was signed by Wolverhampton Wanderers, spending 1933-34 on their books, again without making the break through to their first eleven. He joined Folkestone in 1934 and from there was signed by First Division Derby County in May 1936, as understudy to Jack Kirby and Ken Scattergood. He made his Football League debut and only appearance for The Rams against Huddersfield Town in March 1937 in a 3-3 draw. In July 1937 he joined Newport County but again only managed a single appearance in South Wales in a Third Division Cup 2-2 draw against Watford in October 1937. He then joined non league Holidays Sports Club in 1938.