Shelfield, Walsall born wing half Samson “Sammy” Whittaker began his football career with Shelfield Methodists in 1905 and played for Rushall Red Cross in 1906 and Bloxwich Strollers in 1907 before joining First Division Aston Villa in January 1908, for whom he made his Football League debut at Bradford City in October 1908, making three more appearances during his debut season. However he didn’t make a first team appearance from January 1909 until September 1911, when he became a regular in the 1911-12 Villa side that came sixth in the First Division, making 27 appearances during the campaign and scoring the first of his six career goals in a defeat at Manchester United in November 1911.
1912-13 was also a relatively successful season as Whittaker played in 20 first team matches as Villa finished League runners up, including two FA Cup ties, but he wasn’t selected to play in the 1913 FA Cup Final when Villa beat Sunderland 1-0 at Crystal Palace. The following season saw Whittaker mainly employed as an inside forward, scoring 4 times in 15 appearances, as once again Villa finished runners up but he only played two games in 1914-15, scoring once, the last season before War interrupted peacetime football. He also played in four wartime games for Villa during the First World War having scored 6 goals in 68 games during peacetime football.
Whittaker served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers Inland Waterways and Docks during the latter months of the War, and after the War he joined hometown Southern League club Walsall in 1919, but had retired by the time the club joined The Football League in 1921.
NB in the photograph he is on the left with Jimmy Leach and Clem Stephenson.