Maley was born in Portsmouth on 8th November 1864. He played
football for Partick Thistle, Third Lanark, Hibernian and Celtic
in the Scottish League before joining Preston North End in 1891.
Maley returned to work as an administrator with Celtic. In the
1901-02 season Manchester City was relegated from the First
Division. Sam Ormerod resigned and was replaced by Tom Maley. In
a pre-season public practice game, Di Jones, who played with
Billy Meredith in the Welsh national team, gashed his knee.
Despite treatment from the club doctor, within a week the wound
had turned septic and the player died.
Maley decided to build a team around his star players, Billy
Gillespie and Billy Meredith. This included players such as
Billy Jones, Herbert Burgess, Sandy Turnbull, Irvine Thornley,
and Jimmy Bannister. That season Manchester City won the Second
Division championship by scoring 95 goals in 34 games. The top
marksmen were Gillespie (30), Meredith (23), Turnbull (12) and
In the 1903-04 season Manchester City finished in second place
in the First Division. They also had a good FA Cup run defeating
Sunderland (3-2), Arsenal (2-0), Middlesbrough (3-1) and
Sheffield Wednesday (3-0). Manchester City played Bolton
Wanderers in the final at Crystal Palace. The only goal of the
game was scored by Billy Meredith.
The Football Association was amazed by Manchester City's rapid
improvement and that summer they decided to carry out an
investigation into the way the club was being run. However, the
officials only discovered some minor irregularities and no case
was brought against the club.
The following season Manchester City again challenged for the
championship. City needed to beat Aston Villa on the final day
of the season. Sandy Turnbull gave Alec Leake, the Villa
captain, a torrid time during the game. Leake threw some mud at
him and he responded with a two-fingered gesture. Leake then
punched Turnbull. According to some journalists, at the end of
the game, Turnbull was dragged into the Villa dressing-room and
beaten-up. Villa won the game 3-1 and Manchester City finished
third, two points behind Newcastle United.
After the game Alec Leake claimed that Billy Meredith had
offered him £10 to throw the game. Meredith was found guilty of
this offence by the Football Association and was fined and
suspended from playing football for a year. Manchester City
refused to provide financial help for Meredith and so he decided
to go public about what really was going on at the club: "What
was the secret of the success of the Manchester City team? In my
opinion, the fact that the club put aside the rule that no
player should receive more than four pounds a week... The team
delivered the goods, the club paid for the goods delivered and
both sides were satisfied."
The Football Association was now forced to carry out another
investigation into the financial activities of Manchester City.
Tom Maley was interviewed and he admitted that he had followed
what seemed like standard English practice by making additional
payments to all their players. He claimed that if all First
Division clubs were investigated, not four would come out "scatheless".
As a result of their investigation, the Football Association
suspended Tom Maley from football for life. Seventeen players
were fined and suspended until January 1907. Billy Gillespie
refused to pay his fine and instead emigrated to the United
As Gary James pointed out in Manchester City: The Complete
Record: "Basically, the entire squad that had finished as FA
Cup-winners in 1904 and narrowly missed out on the Championship
two years running were banned. This brought a premature end to
City's first golden age."
Journalists were aware that virtually every club in the Football
League was making illegal payments to its players. Football
writers based in Manchester argued that the club, being a
northern side, were being made an example of, and thousands of
people complained to the Football Association, but it refused to
reduce the bans and fines.
Manchester City was forced to sell their players in order to
raise the money to pay the fines. At an auction at the Queen's
Hotel in Manchester, the Manchester United manager, Ernest
Mangnal signed Billy Meredith for only £500. While at City he
scored 145 goals in 338 games. Mangnal also purchased three
other talented members of the City side, Herbert Burgess, Sandy
Turnbull and Jimmy Bannister. In 1906 John Henry Davies, the
chairman of Manchester United, provided the funds for Meredith
to set up a sports-equipment shop in St Peter's Square,
Tom Maley now became a headmaster of a school in Glasgow.
However, in July 1910 the Football Association lifted his
suspension and the following year he became manager of Bradford
Park Avenue. During his time at the club Bradford achieved its
highest position in First Division of the Football League.
Tom Maley died on 24th August 1935.