Whitburn, Tyneside born inside forward Tom Smith was one of four footballing brothers, the others being Sep (Leicester City & England), Jack (Portsmouth & England) and WH (Portsmouth). He started his football career with junior clubs Marsden Villa in 1917 and Whitburn in 1918 before joining Second Division South Shields in 1919, making his Football League debut at Clapton Orient in September that year. He played 8 games that autumn scoring on his 8th appearance against Leicester Fosse (to be renamed City the following season) that November, who promptly signed him in December 1919.
He had four years at Filbert Street scoring 15 goals in 81 appearances before Manchester United signed him in January 1924, where he played until the summer of 1927. In his first full season (1924-25) at Old Trafford he scored 5 goals as Manchester United were promoted to the First Division as runners up in the Second Division, scoring 16 goals in 90 appearances before joining Northampton Town in the close season of 1927.
He was ever present in 1927-28 scoring 12 goals as The Cobblers finished runners up in the Third Division (South) narrowly missing out on promotion, and in 3 seasons at The County Ground scored 22 goals in 121 appearances. He then joined Norwich City in the summer of 1930 playing only once in their first game of the 1930-31 season in a 1-0 defeat at Exeter City before re-joining non league Whitburn later in 1930.