Tom Nichols, from just over the border in Somerset, came through the youth ranks and scored more than thirty first-team goals by the age of twenty-two. He then moved to Peterborough United and played for a number of other clubs, sometimes more successfully than others.
Tom, who attended Court Fields school in Wellington, played age-group football for Kentisbeare and Twyford Spartans later progressing through the Exeter City centre of excellence programme to become a scholar/trainee in 2009 and a full professional in April 2011. He made his debut as a substitute at Sheffield Wednesday in May 2011 and was the player who gave way to allow manager Paul Tisdale to make his late appearance. Tom then appeared in a dozen games during 2011/12 when he netted his first goal in senior football against Chesterfield on 27 August 2011 when still aged seventeen. He was later to spend part of the season on loan at Dorchester.
Tom then went on loan to Hereford at the start of 2012/13 prior to coming back to play three first-team games for Exeter and then heading to Bath City on loan. A second stint at Dorchester was to follow later in the season prior to Tom playing 29 times for Exeter's first team in 2013/14. This was effectively Tom’s breakthrough season as he scored six league goals including two against Accrington in December 2013. Tom had now started an eighteen-month period when he established his reputation as a young player to watch. After fifteen league goals in 2014/15 Tom had added a further dozen to his tally by end of January 2016 including one against Liverpool in the FA Cup when he was also named man of the match. With interest from other clubs mounting, Tom was in his final weeks as an Exeter player and on 1 February 2016 he joined League One side Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee soon scoring on his debut against Chesterfield. Tom made good progress at London Road but, slightly surprisingly after scoring thirteen times in his first full season, signed for Bristol Rovers in July 2017 for £350,000.
Tom was to spend three seasons at the Memorial Ground, including a period on loan at Cheltenham Town, but his goalscoring record was poor. In a subsequent interview with Bristol Live Tom admitted that his time at Rovers “obviously didn’t go to plan” and that he “definitely did have some down days and down periods, I’m not going to deny that. It was a struggle at times because I’d gone from being a goalscorer to not being able to hit a barn door”. Tom was released by the Gas in the summer of 2020 and moved to Crawley Town where he experienced better fortunes before joining Gillingham in January 2023. He was one of several transfer window signings by the Kent club including Tim Dieng from Exeter City.
League 98; Cups 15 (113)