Tom Mather was born in Chorley, Lancashire, in 1888. He joined
Manchester City as assistant secretary. Later, he held a similar
post under John Somerville, the manager of Bolton Wanderers.
In January 1910, with Bolton firmly entrenched at the bottom of
the First Division, John Somerville was sacked and replaced by
Will Settle. He was unable to save the club from relegation but
he steered Bolton to promotion at the first attempt. Settle also
recruited a group of talented players including Ted Vizard, Joe
Smith and Jimmy Seddon.
In 1911-12 Bolton Wanderers finished fourth in the First
Division and in the 1914-15 they reached the semi-final of the
FA Cup. However, they were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield United. At
the end of the season professional football in Britain came to
an end because of the First World War. In 1915 Will Settle left
the club to be replaced by Tom Mather. According to Dean Hayes,
the author of Bolton Wanderers (1999): "After finding certain
responsibilities had been taken away from him, he left the club
under something of a cloud after 17 years' service." Soon
afterwards Mather was called up to join the Royal Navy and his
assistant, Charles Foweraker, became the new manager.
After the First World War Mather became the manager of Southend
United. He later moved to Stoke City where he helped the club
win the Third Division North title in 1927 and Second Division
title in 1932. Three years later he became manager of Newcastle
United. This was followed by spells with Leicester City and
Tom Mather died in 1957.