Stockton-On-Tees, County Durham born left back Tommy Crilly joined North Eastern League Hartlepools United in 1919 from Stockton with whom he had played since before the First World War, and he was ever present in his first two seasons at Victoria Park. When Hartlepools joined the newly formed Third Division (North) in 1921 Crilly made his Football League debut at Wrexham in their inaugural League match that August. After 38 appearances for The Monkey Hangers during 1921-22, Second Division Derby County signed him in the summer of 1922, taking him along with manager Cecil Potter and team mate Harry Thoms. He was an ever present in his first season at The Baseball Ground and he made 211 appearances for The Rams over the next six seasons, including playing in their 1923 FA Cup semi final team that lost to West Ham United at Stamford Bridge, as well as helping them win promotion to the First Division in 1925-26 when they finished Second Division runners up.
He moved to Third Division (South) club Crystal Palace in the summer of 1928, again in a joint deal with Harry Thoms, in his five seasons at Palace they twice finished runners up in 1929 and 1931, missing out narrowly on promotion. After a single goal in 126 games he then moved to Northampton Town, where he was Club Captain, playing two seasons for The Cobblers and making 59 appearances, before becoming Midland League club Scunthorpe & Lindsey United’s player-manager in 1935, where he continued as their manager for two more years, leaving in 1937. He also assisted with coaching Derby County junior players during the Second World War.
NB in the photograph he stands on the right with Derby County team mate Harry Thoms.