Cuckfield, Sussex born centre forward Tommy Cook joined Brighton & Hove Albion from his local club Cuckfield, signing amateur forms while serving in the Royal Navy during the First World War and turning professional in August 1920, making his Football League debut at Queens Park Rangers in September 1922. He played seven seasons for The Seagulls and developed a record as a consistent goalscorer bagging over 20 goals in three of those seasons. His 28 goals in 1923-24 included 4 goals in a 5-0 win over Bournemouth in December 1923 and further hat-tricks against Aberdare Athletic, Reading, Newport County and most impressively First Division Everton in a 5-2 FA Cup shock in February 1924. He followed these feats with successive hat-tricks against Newport County and Merthyr Town as his 18 goal return again saw him top Brighton’s goalscoring charts.
In February 1925 he was selected to play for England against Wales at The Vetch Field, Swansea in a 2-1 England victory, it proved to be his only England cap. He missed much of the following season but still scored 8 goals in 10 appearances during the late summer and autumn, returning to the top of Brighton’s goalscoring charts in 1926-27 and 1927-28 with 23 and 26 goals respectively (including a hat-trick against Millwall in September 1927), although in the former season he was outscored by Sam Jennings as Brighton recorded successive 4th place League finishes.
He played his last Brighton game of 209 in total, scoring in a win over Walsall in May 1929, and, having scored 123 goals, had a spell at non league Northfleet joining them in September 1930, before returning to League football with Bristol Rovers in October 1931, top scoring with 19 goals during the rest of the season. In two seasons at Eastville he kept up his ratio of at least a goal every other game by scoring 22 in 44 appearances for The Pirates before retiring in 1933 to concentrate on his cricket.
Cook fought during the Second World War with The South African Air Force, rising to the rank of corporal in January 1943. He was seriously injured in an accident at an air school, which hospitalised him for 6 months. He later returned to Brighton becoming their manager from May to November 1947.
He was almost as well known as a first class county cricketer as for his football. Between 1922 and 1937 he played cricket for Sussex making a top score of 278 and averaging over 30 with the bat in first class cricket.
NB In this photograph of Sussex CCC taken in 1935, Cook stands top left. The other players are: (back row l-r) J. Cornford, A. Wensley, James Langridge, John Langridge, H. Parks, C. Oakes, J. Parks;
(front row) A. Melville, A. Holmes, M. Tate, W. Cornford.