Hetton Le Hole, County Durham born centre forward Tommy Tait began his football career as a junior on the books of Sunderland in 1923-24, and played for Hetton in 1924. He joined Middlesbrough’s books but didn’t make the first eleven before joining Third Division (North) Southport in 1927, making his Football League debut at Wigan Borough in October the same year. A consistent goalscorer for Southport, he notched 15 goals in 19 appearances before being sold to Second Division Manchester City in February 1928, scoring on his Manchester City debut in a 1-1 draw at Fulham, the first of four goals before the end of the season that helped The Citizens to win the Second Division Championship.
He had three seasons at Maine Road but 1929-30 was outstanding for Tait. He scored 31 goals in 34 appearances including hat-tricks against West Ham United, Portsmouth and Leeds United, as well as in the FA Cup against Swindon Town. City’s top goalscorer that season, he helped them finish 3rd in the League Championship, However having scored a further 8 goals in 15 appearances the following season, he was sold to Bolton Wanderers in November 1930 after 46 goals in 64 appearances.
Despite starting brightly with a goal in each of his first two games for The Trotters, he managed only 10 appearances before the end of the season, scoring twice more, before being bought by Third Division (South) Luton Town in the 1931 close season. He scored 27 goals in his debut season for The Hatters including a 5 goals salvo against Swindon Town and a hat-trick against Torquay United, followed by hat-tricks against Cardiff City and Brentford in a 23 goal haul in 1932-33. But after another hat-trick at Northampton Town at the start of the following season, he lost his place in December 1933, and joined Bournemouth the following summer after 57 goals in 96 appearances for The Hatters.
After 5 goals in 12 appearances for Bournemouth he was bought by Reading in November 1934, £200 of his fee being provided by the supporters’ club. He rapidly repaid them with a hat-trick on his debut at nearby Aldershot and ten goals in his first seven games for The Royals, and he was the club’s top scorer during his first four seasons at Elm Park. But despite being runners up in the Third Division (South) in 1934-35 and finishing third the following season, with top six finishes in each of the following three seasons, Reading couldn’t achieve promotion and Tait joined Torquay United in the summer of 1939 after 103 goals in 168 appearances, including 4 hat-tricks for them. He played for Torquay in official matches both sides of the Second World War, making a total of five League and FA Cup appearances, however the Second World War effectively finished his career.
He was the son of former Airdrieonians, Bristol Rovers, Sunderland, and Scotland footballer Tommy Tait (Sr).