Harpurhey, Manchester born left half Tommy Meehan started his football career with junior clubs Newton in 1913 and Walkden Central in 1914 before the First World War, and signed for Rochdale in January 1917, before moving to Manchester United in June 1917, after when he was loaned back to Rochdale and also played for Atherton. On the resumption of peacetime football he made his Football League debut for United against Sheffield Wednesday in September 1919 in a First Division fixture at Old Trafford. A regular in United’s starting line up in the immediate aftermath of the resumption of peacetime football from August 1919, he made 53 appearances for United, scoring 6 goals, including a brace against Chelsea in a 3-1 victory at Old Trafford in September 1920, and having clearly impressed, fairly soon after Meehan signed for Chelsea for £3,300 in December 1920.
At the time of his move south, Meehan was rated one of the best half backs in England, and he was a regular in the Chelsea team over the next three years, playing in 133 games for the club, scoring 4 goals, being an ever present for The Pensioners in their 1922-23 campaign. He won the 1923 Charity Shield with The Professionals XI, beating The Amateurs 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in October 1923. He made his debut for England two weeks later, on 20th October 1923, in a 2-1 defeat to Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast. It was to be his only England cap in addition to two representative appearances for The Football League, firstly playing in a 5-1 win over The Irish League in October 1922 and then playing against the same opponents in a 6-2 romp in Belfast in September 1923.
At the height of his career, he was struck down with encephalitis lethargica, an inflammation of the brain which had reached an epidemic scale in the years after the First World War. Having played his last game for Chelsea in March 1924, he died in August 1924 aged 28.
NB In this image, published in 1924 but probably taken in the summer of 1923, he trains with Chelsea inside forward Harold “Dusty” Miller.