West Hoathly, Sussex born inside right Cecil Potter began his football career with Melton Asylum from where he joined Southern Amateur League club Ipswich Town in 1910. He signed for Southern League Norwich City in 1911 and played there until the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915. During the War he served in the Armed Forces and after the War he signed for Second Division club Hull City in 1919 after having played for them in wartime football, making his Football League debut at Birmingham in August 1919. After 10 matches for The Tigers during their 1919-20 campaign he became player-secretary-manager of Hartlepools United in May 1920 and made his last appearance as a player in an FA Cup defeat at Stalybridge Celtic in December 1921.
Potter led Hartlepools to League status when they joined the Third Division (North) in 1921 and finished fourth in the division in their inaugural League campaign. Potter was appointed Second Division club Derby County’s manager in July 1922 and led them to the FA Cup semi final in his first season, where they were beaten by West Ham United at Stamford Bridge, and he followed this with two third place finishes in 1923-24 and 1924-25, The Rams narrowly missing out on promotion to the First Division both seasons.
When Herbert Chapman, having won the League Championship with Huddersfield Town two seasons running, joined Arsenal in 1925, Potter was appointed as his successor, and he oversaw the hat-trick of League Championships as they retained the title in 1925-26. However he left the club in August 1926 shortly before the start of the new season and was replaced by John Chaplin, Potter then replaced his own former Norwich City manager Bertie Stansfield as manager of Norwich City in November 1926 and was in charge of The Canaries until leaving the post in January 1929.