Tarbolton, Ayrshire born wing half Tommy Bowman began his professional career with Annbank in 1891, moving to Second Division Blackpool in 1896, making his Football League debut in the club’s inaugural match in the Football League, a 3-1 defeat at Lincoln City on 5th September. His 30 League appearances in 1896-97 made him an ever present in the team.
He joined Aston Villa in November 1897 after 2 goals in 42 appearances for The Seasiders, where he gained a reputation as a strong, determined centre half. He went on to score twice in 116 appearances for the club over four years, helping them to the League Championship titles in 1898-99 and 1899-00. Bowman was also in the Villa side that lost a 1900 FA Cup quarter final against Millwall Athletic that stunned the football world at the time and also played in their FA Cup semi final team that lost in a replay to Sheffield United at The Baseball Ground in April 1901.
In 1901, Southern League Champions Southampton, anxious to replace Arthur Chadwick, who had moved to Portsmouth, signed Bowman. In his first season at The Dell, Bowman helped Saints to the FA Cup Final, whilst finishing only third in the Southern League, although they lost to Sheffield United. In 1902–03 he was a key member of the team that claimed the Southern League Championship, a feat repeated the following season when Bowman appeared in all 34 matches. In his three years with The Saints he was a fixture in the half back line and missed only five League games, making 101 appearances, scoring three goals.
Although he never received full international honours, he represented the Anglo-Scots against the Scots in 1902.In 1904, he joined Chadwick at Portsmouth. In five years at Fratton Park, he made a total of 144 appearances, scoring five goals. He finished his career in 1912 with Eastleigh Athletic three years after having joined them in 1909.