Wealdstone, Middlesex born inside right Ernie Whittam began his senior football career with First Division Huddersfield Town, signing for them in November 1928 aged 18 and making his Football League debut at Grimsby Town in September 1929, his only appearance of the season. He spent four seasons as a fringe player for The Terriers, scoring 4 goals in 20 appearances, before joining Chester in May 1933. A regular for Chester in 1933-34, he scored 11 goals in 38 appearances in his debut season, including a hat-trick in a 4-0 win against Gateshead in April 1934, and followed that with 10 goals in 25 appearances as Chester finished third in the Third Division (North) in 1934-35.
He transferred to Mansfield Town in the 1935 close season, and had only played two thirds of the season before First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers bought him in February 1936 after 5 goals in 23 appearances for The Stags. He played once for Wolves, in a 1-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers the next month, and left at the end of the season to join Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in May. He had three good seasons at Bournemouth, scoring 29 goals in 111 appearances before a move to Reading in June 1939, but his Elm Park career was curtailed after just one game in the abandoned 1939-40 season due to the outbreak of the Second World War. After the War he played for non league Mossley, joining them in 1945 before his retirement.