Clare in his playing days
|Full name||Thomas Clare|
|Date of birth||12 March 1865|
|Place of birth||Congleton, England|
|Date of death||27 December 1929(aged 64)|
|Place of death||Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Playing position||Right back|
|1883||Burslem Port Vale||0||(0)|
|1897||Burslem Port Vale||21||(0)|
|1898–1901||Burslem Port Vale||18||(0)|
|1905–1906||Burslem Port Vale|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He began his playing career with Stoke in 1883, having moved from Burslem Port Vale. He spent the next fourteen years with Stoke, playing 251 games in all competitions, helping them to the Football Alliance title in 1890–91. In 1897 he signed with Manchester City via Port Vale, before returning to Vale for a three-year spell in 1898, helping them to the Staffordshire Senior Cup on his arrival. He also won four England caps between 1889 and 1894. He was appointed as manager-secretary of Burslem Port Vale in 1905, a position he held for the next six years.
Clare was born in Congleton, Cheshire on 12 March 1865. He played his early football with Talke Rangers, Goldenhill Wanderers and Burslem Port Vale before becoming Stoke's first professional player in 1883.
He was captain of the Stoke side that were founder members of the Football League in 1888. Stoke finished at the bottom of the table in both 1888–89 and 1889–90 and in 1890 dropped down to the Football Alliance. Clare was absolved of any blame though, and referee Tom Bryan stated that "the backs and the goalkeeper are superior to any three men playing with one club". The following season, Stoke were champions of the Football Alliance and returned to the Football League, with Clare an ever-present. They then once again struggled, finishing second last in 1891–92, before finishing in mid-table in 1892–93. He claimed his first Football League goal on the opening day of the 1893–94 season, netting from a goalmouth scramble in a 4–1 defeat at Bolton Wanderers. From Christmas 1894 up until his departure in 1907 he played 82 consecutive league games. His final season with the club came in 1896–97. During his 12 seasons with Stoke, Clare made over 250 appearances and forged a decent defensive partnership with fellow full-back Alf Underwood.
Clare signed for Port Vale as a player-coach in 1897, before moving on to Manchester City later in the year. However, in 1898 he re-signed for Vale a second time, and helped the side lift the Staffordshire Senior Cup later in the year as he "inspired a confidence never before approached" in his teammates. However, he broke his leg in October 1898, an injury which effectively ended his career. He retired in 1901.
Clare earned his first England cap for the match against Ireland on 2 March 1889. The match was played at Anfield, then the home of Everton, and the selectors made eleven changes to the side that had beaten Wales a week before with nine new caps, including Clare's Stoke team-mate, Bill Rowley in goal. England won the match "quite comfortably" 6–1, with John Yates scoring a hat trick in his only international appearance.
Clare's next England appearance came three years later, also against Ireland, at the Solitude Ground, Belfast, when he was joined by his Stoke team-mates, goalkeeper Bill Rowley and left-back Alf Underwood. Harry Daft of Notts County was awarded the captaincy for the last of his five England appearances and marked the occasion by scoring twice, either side of half-time, in an "unconvincing victory".
Style of play
Clare stood at 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) tall and weighed 12 st 10 lbs (80.7 kg), giving him a physical edge over opposition forwards. He was good in the air, and was described as "quick and resolute" with "capital style". He was known to endanger opposition players with his harsh and sometimes wild tackling, and helped to give Stoke a reputation as an overly physical side.
Clare was appointed Port Vale's manager-secretary in July 1905 and stepped down the following year after the club could no longer afford his wages.
Clare emigrated to Canada shortly before World War I and died in Vancouver in December 1929. The then 51-year-old lied about his age, saying he was 40, to gain entry into the Canadian Army, and saw action in the Battle of Passchendaele. He returned home when his true age, and his growing medical problems, were discovered in November 1917.
- Sourced from Tommy Clare profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||Test Match||Total|
|Burslem Port Vale||1897–98||Midland League||21||0||5||0||—||31||0|
|Manchester City||1897–98||First Division||1||0||0||0||—||1||0|
|Burslem Port Vale||1898–99||Second Division||13||0||0||0||—||16||0|
|England national team|
- Port Vale
- Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 – 1939. Tony Brown. p. 54. ISBN 1-899468-67-6.
- Stoke City 101 Golden Greats. Desert Islands Books. 2002. pp. 11–12. ISBN 1-874287-55-4.
- Betts, Graham (2006). England: Player by player. Green Umbrella Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 1-905009-63-1.
- Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0.
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 60. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
- "England 6 – Ireland 1". www.englandstats.com. 2 March 1889. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
- Association Football in Victorian England – A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. pp. 120–121.
- "Ireland 0 – England 2". www.englandstats.com. 5 March 1892. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
- Association Football in Victorian England – A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. p. 188.
- "England 6 – Wales 0". www.englandstats.com. 13 March 1893. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
- "Scotland 2 – England 2". www.englandstats.com. 7 April 1894. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
- Sherwin, Phil (12 May 2012). "Vale ace helped reduce famous keeper to tears". The Way We Were.
- "Tommy Clare". National Football Teams. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
- Matthews, Tony (18 December 2008). The Legends of Stoke City. Derby, United Kingdom: Breedon Books. pp. 46–7. ISBN 978-1-85983-653-8.