Centre half Tommy Crawshaw was born in Sheffield and was brought up in the Park Hill area of the town along with his brothers Percy and George. Both of his brothers played football with Percy appearing nine times for The Wednesday while George played for Worksop Town for many years. Tommy Crawshaw’s early football was played with local clubs Park Grange whom he joined in 1891, and Attercliffe (1892), in 1893 he moved to play for Heywood Central in the newly formed Manchester Football League where his good form attracted the attention of Sheffield Wednesday. Crawshaw signed for The Wednesday on 24th April 1894 as a replacement for the long serving Billy Betts. Crawshaw made his Wednesday debut on 1st September 1894, the opening day of the 1894-95 season, in a 3-1 defeat at Everton.
He made an immediate impact in the side missing only two matches that season and was called up for the England side before the season was out, making his England debut at Derby in a 9-0 romp over Ireland. Crawshaw’s international career spanned nine years in which time he only made 10 appearances, all these were in the British Home Championship. His England career included a four year absence from the team between March 1897 and March 1901, although only 10 matches were played in this time. He marked his return to the England team by scoring one of the goals in a 3-0 victory over Ireland at The Dell on 9th March 1901. This one match return was followed by a three year break out of the team before returning to play two matches in 1904 with his tenth and final appearance being against Ireland in Belfast on 12th March 1904. He also made 8 appearances for The Football League.
In the 1895-96 campaign Crawshaw was part of the Wednesday side which won the FA Cup, he played in all six ties, scoring in the 3-1 semi-final replay victory over Bolton Wanderers. However he did make an uncharacteristic mistake in the Final against Wolves when an error allowed David Black to equalise before Wednesday went on to win 2-1 through two Fred Spiksley goals.
The 1896 publication Famous Footballers described Crawshaw as “A thorough worker always …he plays a good game from first to last and is unselfish to a degree. A good tackler he uses his head cleverly as well.” Although they were relegated in 1899, in the 1899-1900 season Crawshaw led Wednesday to promotion from the Second Division as Champions in their first season at their new home at Owlerton. Back in the top flight of English football Crawshaw formed an imposing line of defence with Bob Ferrier and Harry Ruddlesdin. When Wednesday lifted back to back First Division Championships in 1902-03 and 1903-04 Crawshaw only missed three League matches over the two seasons as captain of the side.
By 1905 Crawshaw was 32 years old, however he was still an automatic choice for Wednesday, playing in 71 consecutive matches between March 1905 and December 1906. In 1906-07 he played in all eight FA Cup matches as Wednesday won the FA Cup again, beating Everton 2-1 in the Final at Crystal Palace in front of 84,500 spectators. The Cup winning season was his last as a regular member of the side although he did play in 14 League matches in 1907-08 with his final game for the club being on 7th March 1908 in the Steel City derby with Wednesday triumphing 2-0 over United. In April 1908, the 35-year-old Crawshaw was granted a free transfer by Wednesday in recognition of his sterling service for the club which encapsulated 27 goals in 466 appearances over 14 seasons.
Several clubs were interested in signing Crawshaw, he eventually opted for Chesterfield, playing 27 times in 1908-09 as the team struggled in Division Two and failed to be re-elected at the end of the season. In January 1910 he joined non-League Castleford Town for a short time before taking a job as Secretary of Glossop until the outbreak of the First World War, after which he left football to become a publican.