Measham, Leicestershire born goalkeeper Tommy Fern kept goal for junior clubs Mafeking Rovers in 1903, Worksop Albion in 1904, and latterly Worksop Town from 1905 before joining Second Division Lincoln City in the summer of 1909 making his Football League debut at Leeds City in September that year. Five years and 133 games later, having been ever present for The Imps in 1910-11 and 1912-13, he signed for Everton for £1,500 at the end of November 1913. Signed to replace Billy Scott, he won The League Championship with Everton in 1914-15, playing 36 matches that season, and in total he made 231 appearances for The Toffees in 11 First World War interrupted years. After the War he remained Everton’s principal goalkeeper for five seasons despite the arrival of Alfie Harland, and was nearly 38 when he played his last match for The Toffees, for whom he is still the tenth oldest player to appear for the club.
In June 1924 he joined Port Vale and he was preferred to the inexperienced Sidney Brown and Robert Wallis, and played 37 Second Division and three FA Cup games in the 1924-25 season, However in September 1926, at age 40, he picked up an injury and lost his first team place at The Old Recreation Ground. He played just 11 games in the 1926-27 season, as goalkeeping duties were shared out between Fern, George Holdcroft, Howard Matthews, and Alex Binnie. In total he played 90 times for Vale over three seasons before a move to non league Colwyn Bay in 1927 prior to his eventual retirement.