Heaton Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire born right back Tom Chorlton started his football career with All Saints (Stockport) in 1898, before playing for Northern F.C. in 1899 from where he joined hometown Second Division club Stockport County in 1900 making his Football League debut against Gainsborough Trinity in January 1901. He only played once a season during his first two seasons at Edgeley Park but became a first team regular in 1902-03 playing 25 games, before joining Accrington Stanley in 1903. He was then signed by Liverpool manager Tom Watson in May 1904.
He made his debut for Liverpool in the half back line in a Second Division match at Lincoln City on 24th September 1904, scoring his first goals with a brace against Grimsby Town on 29th October. Chorlton spent most of his early days at Anfield flitting in and out of the side, making just 12 appearances in his first season as they won the Second Division Championship and 27 over the following three campaigns, scoring once in 6 appearances and missing many months of the League Championship winning 1905-06 season due to a blood-poisoned foot, and being restricted to only 8 appearances the following season, missing the majority of the 1906-07 campaign as he was suffering from typhoid fever.
It was the 1908-09 term that saw Chorlton establish himself as a first choice player, eventually making 36 appearances. Chorlton followed that up with an ever present season in 1909-10, the only Red to do so. He started the 1910-11 season as a regular, making 7 appearances in 10 games, but lost his place at the start of November following a miserable run of five defeats in the first seven League games and never regained it.
For a time Chorlton was the club’s penalty-taker, which helped him hit 8 goals in his 122 outings for the Anfield club, of which 4 came from the spot. Chorlton was so described by a Liverpool Echo scribe in 1910: “As a player and a man Liverpool likes Chorlton. There is no “side” about him. Once a half back, once a big forward with exceedingly strong centres, Chorlton is now settled at full back, and in that time he has shown his versatility by occupying both positions for the benefit of others who have been introduced. His build catches the eye, his muscles are large, and his leg a pattern to many who do not exercise. His play has been of a good, level order and his service to Liverpool of great value. At times he does not manage to catch the ball full, but where is there a defender who does not blunder?”
Chorlton was transferred to Manchester United in August 1912 on the expiry of his Liverpool contract, one of the few players to have moved directly between the bitter rivals, but only played 4 times for United before joining Stalybridge Celtic in 1914.
His brother, Charles, also played professionally, for Bury.