Coxlodge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne born outside right Tommy Glidden started his football career in North East junior football with Colliery Old Boys in August 1919 and spent time on Sunderland’s books as an amateur in 1919-20, playing for Boldon Villa in July 1920 and Sunderland West End in April 1921 before signing professional for First Division club West Bromwich Albion in April 1922, where he would spend his entire fourteen year career. He made his Football League debut at Everton in November 1922 but initially struggled for first team opportunities, however by the time West Bromwich finished runners up in the League Championship in 1924-25 he had secured a regular starting place. He was picked for the England squad that travelled to Paris in May 1925 to play France but was named as reserve and was unlucky he never won an England cap.
Relegation for West Brom followed in 1927 and this led to the best goalscoring years in Glidden’s career with more than 20 goals in each of 1928-29 and 1929-30, including a hat-trick at Chelsea in April 1929 and 4 goals against Swansea Town the same October. He also became Albion’s Club Captain. The 1930-31 campaign will always be the season associated most with Glidden. Albion finally won promotion back to the First Division with Glidden scoring in the last day 3-2 win at Charlton Athletic to seal it, and he also scored the winner in the FA Cup semi final against Everton, which took The Baggies to Wembley, where two W.G. Richardson goals beat Birmingham 2-1, with Glidden lifting the Cup as captain.
Back in the First Division Glidden was an ever present the following season and again scored 20 goals. In 1935 Albion were back at Wembley with Glidden still their captain, however they lost the FA Cup Final 4-2 to Sheffield Wednesday. In fourteen seasons at West Bromwich Albion, Glidden was twice an ever present in 1931-32 and 1933-34, and missed three games or less in six other seasons.
He retired as a player in May 1936 after 140 goals in 478 appearances for West Bromwich Albion, truly one of the most unheralded of the club’s great players, then becoming a coach at The Hawthorns until the outbreak of the Second World War. He became a director of West Bromwich Albion in 1951 and remained so until his death in 1974.
His younger brother Syd Glidden was also a professional footballer in the 1920’s and 30’s playing for a number of lower league clubs including Halifax Town, Doncaster Rovers, York City and Newport County.
NB In this photograph Albion captain Tommy Glidden parades the FA Cup with team-mates at Wembley Stadium in the aftermath of their 2-1 victory over Birmingham in the FA Cup Final on 25th April 1931.