Backworth, Northumberland born right half Tommy Sampy played junior football for Seaton Delaval in 1918 and Chopwell Institute in 1919 before joining First Division Sheffield United in November 1920, Sampy was initially employed as an inside right, scoring on his Football League debut in a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers in February 1921. He scored 3 times in 9 FA Cup ties in The Blades’ run to the 1923 FA Cup semi final where they lost narrowly (1-0) to eventual winners Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford. He was unlucky to be 12th man when Sheffield United won the FA Cup in 1925, Sampy having played in three of the cup ties leading to the Final, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday in an earlier round and then playing in their 2-0 semi final victory over Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
After playing regularly as a forward for a number of seasons, Sampy was switched to right half in the autumn of 1925, where he played for the rest of his Blades career. Sampy was made club captain during the 1930-31 season having missed only one game during the previous two seasons, but lost his place and the captaincy to Harry Gooney a year later. Regaining his place in the first team during the 1932-33 season, Sampy remained a regular with United until 1933, playing only 8 times in their 1933-34 relegation season.
After 14 seasons and 371 appearances for Sheffield United, during which he scored 32 goals, Sampy was transferred to nearby rivals Barnsley in the summer of 1934, taking the role of player-coach. His role was primarily focused on the coaching side however, and Sampy made only one League appearance for the Tykes against Blackpool in March 1935. In May 1936 Sampy accepted a coaching role at Sheffield Wednesday where he remained until the onset of the Second World War in 1939.
Sampy was the elder brother of Bill Sampy who also played for Sheffield United as well as Swansea Town.