Port Talbot, Neath born centre forward Tommy Bamford began his football career with Cardiff Docks in 1925 and played for Cardiff Wednesday in 1926 and Bridgend Town in 1927 before joining Third Division (North) club Wrexham in 1928, scoring on his Football League debut in a 4-1 win over Accrington Stanley in March 1929. He scored in each of his first four matches for Wrexham, setting off from the start of the next season on a 5 season goalscoring spree that leaves him to this day Wrexham’s all time leading goalscorer with 175 League goals and 192 goals in all competitions from 222 appearances.
Between 1929-30 and 1933-34 he was the club’s leading goalscorer every season. A relatively modest 27 goals in 1929-30 included 4 in an 8-0 early season thrashing of Rochdale. His 38 goals in 1930-31 saw Wrexham finish third in the League and included 4 against Accrington Stanley and 3 in an FA Cup win over non league Wellington Town. He scored 33 goals in 1931-32 with 4 at Chester and at home to Walsall and a hat-trick at Doncaster Rovers. He then fired 34 goals in 1932-33 as Wrexham finished runners up in the Third Division, Bamford scoring hat-tricks against Accrington Stanley, Barnsley, Gateshead and Rotherham United.
In the 1933-1934 season, he scored a club record 44 League goals (and 50 in total for the season), another record which still stands today. He plundered 6 goals in an 11-1 Third Division Cup win over New Brighton in January 1934, scored 5 in a 6-1 League win over Carlisle United in March, all 4 in a 4-1 win at Doncaster Rovers in October 1933 and scored hat-tricks against Mansfield Town, Gateshead and Walsall.
He was first capped by Wales on 25th October 1930 in a 1-1 draw with Scotland at Ibrox in the 1930-31 British Home Championship, scoring Wales’ goal after just six minutes. After numerous Football League sides refused to release their players for the match due to a fixture clash, the Welsh side for the match was made of largely players from the lower divisions, the Welsh Leagues and non league. The team became known as “Keenor and the unknowns” in reference to captain Fred Keenor and the relative obscurity of the players who featured in the team with him. He won four more caps for Wales until 1933, without scoring any further goals.
He transferred to Manchester United along with teammate Billy Bryant in October 1934, scoring the only goal on his debut a few days later at Newcastle United. In his four season long career with United, he scored 57 goals (scoring double figures each season), including 16 as they won the Second Division Championship in 1935-36, although his 15 goals the next season, which included a hat-trick in a 5-4 defeat at Derby County in September 1936, couldn’t save them from immediate relegation in a season where he finished as the club’s top goalscorer. He made a total a total of 109 appearances for The Red Devils and helped the club to promotion once again in 1937-38, scoring 15 goals as they finished Second Division runners up, his haul including 4 goals at Chesterfield in November 1937 and a hat-trick against Barnsley and leaving him as once again the club’s leading scorer.
He left for Swansea Town in the summer of 1938, scoring 18 goals in 40 appearances for The Swans, and top scoring for the club in 1938-39, but the outbreak of the Second World War a year later halted his career, and by the time the War ended six years later Bamford was 40 years old and had retired from playing.