Finchley born centre forward Ernie Watkins started in local football playing for Barnet in 1920 and Finchley in 1921 before joining First Division Birmingham in October 1922, for whom he made his debut against Cardiff City that November, scoring in the return match at Ninian Park a week later that ended in a 1-1 draw. This proved his only goal in 8 appearances for The Blues and he joined Southend United in February 1924, where initially his career struggled to take root. But in the autumn of 1925 he’d found his range, scoring 11 goals in 15 appearances including a hat-trick against Brentford, which prompted Brentford to sign him in January 1926 in a £1000 transfer, at the time the club’s record fee paid, after 17 goals in 34 appearances for The Shrimpers.
Described as “a goal poacher whose best work was done inside the area”, he scored on his Brentford debut and managed 25 goals in 1926-27, making him easily the club’s leading scorer, repeating the feat with 14 goals in 1928-29, but fell out of favour in 1929 and joined Millwall in March 1930 after 60 goals in 130 appearances. He scored once in 6 games at Millwall but was released at the end of the season and joined Fulham, where he scored 12 goals in 20 appearances during 1930-31, although at the end of the season he was on the move again, this time signing for Gillingham in August 1931. He made just 4 appearances for The Gills in the autumn of 1931 before joining Charlton Athletic that November, scoring 6 times in 16 appearances before being forced to finish his football career in 1932 having sustained a knee injury that February.
Here he is pictured with team mate Billy Hayes.