Shildon, County Durham born left back Tom Daykin began his football career with Eldon Albion in 1901. He was a member of the team that put up a “splendid display” in the 1903 Durham Senior Cup Final, taking a two goal lead against cup holders Sunderland “A” before “eventually class told” and Eldon lost 3-2. A trial with Newcastle United came to nothing, and Daykin also appeared for Bishop Auckland in 1902 and Hobson Wanderers in 1903 before playing for Shildon Athletic of the Northern League in 1904-05, joining First Division Sunderland in March 1905 on amateur forms, for whom he made his Football League debut against Manchester City in April 1905.
The match finished goalless, and the Athletic News’ correspondent wrote how Daykin “tackles well and with good judgment, and kicks splendidly in any position, his only weakness being his heading”, and “bids fair to develop into a really good full-back.” He played once more in what remained of the season, and returned to the side in late September. In his second match, he injured a knee, was confined to bed for some weeks, and was then referred to a Manchester hospital for further treatment. He played no more first team football that season, but was fit enough by March to be on the winning side for the “A” team against Hebburn Argyle in the 1906 Durham Senior Cup Final, and his services were retained for another year.
He broke into the Sunderland side with more regularity from January 1907, playing 19 matches that season and 21 in 1907-08. He was retained for 1908-09, and played in the opening fixture, but was dropped in favour of Tommy Tait, and made just three more appearances for Sunderland. His last match was the local derby against Newcastle United in December 1908. Sunderland took an early lead before the visitors equalised with a penalty just before half-time. Sunderland regained the lead two minutes into the second half, and in the next half hour scored seven more goals to make the final score 9-1; it remains the club record league away win.
Daykin was then sold to Second Division Birmingham in December 1908 after 48 appearances for The Wearsiders. The Daily News described the new arrival as “Speedy and tenacious, he has the reputation of being one of the most useful and versatile men in the North. He has usually appeared in the intermediate line, where his abilities as a two-footed player make him useful in either position, but when occasion has demanded he has been a general utility man, both forward and at back.”
At Birmingham he was used mainly at left half and rarely at full back, and appeared regularly over a four season spell at St Andrews, scoring his only career goal in a 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in March 1909. In February 1910 he broke his leg in a match at Leeds City, but recovered to regain his place early the next season. But he lost his place in January 1912 and in the summer of 1912 he went back to the north east after 94 appearances for The Blues, joining North Eastern League club Spennymoor United before moving on to South Shields in February 1913, where he finished his playing career.