Manchester born goalkeeper Walter Whittaker began his football career with Manchester League side Molyneaux in 1894 and joined Buxton in 1895, from where he signed for Second Division Newton Heath (now Manchester United) in February 1896, making his Football League debut at Grimsby Town the following month, and playing twice more before the season’s end. He didn’t stay with The Heathens, returning to non league football with Fairfield in the close season before joining Grimsby Town in May 1897. He took over the gloves at Grimsby making 28 appearances during his single season at Abbey Park, before moving to Southern League football with Reading in 1898.
His return to Football League action came with First Division Blackburn Rovers in February 1900, where he took over goalkeeping duties from Albert Knowles and remained until December 1901, making 53 appearances for Rovers before re-joining Grimsby Town. He made a further 49 appearances for The Mariners but as they were close to relegation in April 1903 he transferred to Derby County to remain a First Division player. Whittaker was predominantly Derby’s second-choice goalkeeper in 1903-04, making just 12 League appearances out of a potential 34, before returning to the Southern League with Brentford in May 1904.
After two years and 63 appearances with Brentford, he moved back to Reading for a season in the summer of 1906, before returning to the Football League again in August 1907 with Second Division Clapton Orient. He had three seasons as the principal glovesman making 96 appearances for The O’s, before joining Southern League Exeter City in July 1910 and made his debut for The Grecians against Brentford in September. Whittaker was ever present in the side in 1910-11, and was again in 1911-12 until being injured in March 1912, when he was replaced by Dick Pym. Whittaker left Exeter for Swansea Town in the summer of 1912 after 59 appearances and was player-manager of Swansea Town between 1912 and 1914. He later briefly played for Welsh League Llanelly in 1914, before retiring, dying of pneumonia in 1917 aged only 38.