Wales, near Rotherham, Yorkshire born right back Tommy Sayles began his senior football career with Second Division club Barnsley in 1921, making his Football League debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 1921, appearing 21 times during the season as Barnsley finished third in the Second Division, narrowly missing out on promotion. But he made only 3 further appearances for The Tykes during 1922-23 and joined Third Division (South) club Southend United in the 1923 close season.
He had four seasons at The Kursaal and missed only two matches in The Shrimpers’ 1924-25 campaign, scoring his only two goals that season, the first a penalty in a defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion in February 1925 and the second from open play in a 2-2 draw at Reading in April. He was again a regular in 1925-25 missing only 4 matches, and played much of the season at left back, but lost his place in September 1926 and played only 3 more matches early in 1927 before joining Midland League club Worksop Town after 102 appearances for Southend United. He subsequently joined Shirebrook in 1928 before his eventual retirement.
His younger brother George Sayles was also a professional footballer playing for Reading and York City in the early/mid 1920’s.