Seaham, County Durham born centre half Tom Wilson began his football career with Seaham Albion in 1912 and signed for First Division club Sunderland in October 1913 but he never got to break into the very strong first team they had immediately prior to the First World War. After the War he played for Seaham Colliery in 1918 from where he signed for Second Division Huddersfield Town in June 1919, making his Football League debut against Clapton Orient in August, helping them to promotion at the season end as Second Division runners up. They also reached the 1920 FA Cup Final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Described as “a strong defensive player, always ready to fall back when the goal is threatened, his long passes to the wing often open up successful attacks. He may not be a stylist but as a sound club man he has few superior”, Wilson was an ever present in The Terriers’ first season in the top flight, and was the club captain in 1921-22, leading his team to another FA Cup Final, this time they beat Preston North End 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Under Herbert Chapman he was a key member of the Huddersfield Town team that won a hat-trick of League Championships in 1924, 1925 and 1926, followed by two runners up places in 1927 and 1928.
Between 1920 and 1929 he missed only 16 matches in nine seasons, and having been called up by England on two occasions in October 1921 and March 1922 without making the final eleven (in the days before substitutes, he was a non playing reserve in both games) his amazing consistency was rewarded with his only England cap in March 1928, however England were humbled 5-1 by Scotland in the famous (or infamous from an England perspective) Wembley Wizards match. He also made three appearances for The Football League.
Having handed over the captaincy of Huddersfield to Clem Stephenson, he was also a member of their 1928 and 1930 FA Cup Final teams that lost in Wembley finals to Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal respectively. He was also an FA Cup semi finalist in 1929, when The Terriers lost to eventual winners Bolton Wanderers at Anfield. He played his last match of exactly 500 games for Town, having scored 4 goals, in November 1931 and later the same week he signed for First Division club Blackpool where he played 20 matches helping them to survive in the top flight before retirement at the end of the season. He then returned to Huddersfield Town as a trainer, also later being trainer of Barnsley until his death in 1948 aged 51.
NB in the photograph taken before the 1922 FA Cup Final, Wilson (left) introduces Prince Edward (later King Edward VIII) to his team, watching him shake hands with George Richardson, the next two players in line being Billy Watson and James Wood.