Drain, Tom

Birth Date

26th June 1879


Pollockshaws, Glasgow



Biographical Text

Scottish-born Tom Drain appeared in Exeter City’s first-ever professional season in the Southern League in 1908/09. Having previously played for Kilmarnock, he left St James’ Park for Woolwich Arsenal. 

Brought up in the Ayrshire mining village of Drongan, Tom played for the local team and, after a fine display in an Ayrshire Junior Cup final, attracted the attention of Celtic, Kilmarnock and Sheffield United. Signing for Celtic he was soon on the move to Ayr United ahead of joining Bradford City (9 league outings, 3 goals). Switching to Leeds City (12 goals in 32 league matches), Tom was back in Ayrshire with Kilmarnock in 1907 ahead of a short spell with Carlisle United.

Tom linked up with Exeter City in 1908 and on signing was described as ‘unsurpassed as a dribbler on his day, being speedy, quick and alert.’ He made his debut in the second match of the season against Bristol Rovers but, apart from one run of eight matches, was never a regular first-team member and was released at the end of 1908/09 season.

He went on to play for Woolwich Arsenal in 1909/10 (making two league appearances) before returning home to appear for Nithsdale Wanderers and Galston. After football he worked as a fire fighter in Fife and died in Edinburgh on 19 September 1952.


Information received from a descendent received in 2023:

"Tom's son William moved to Australia in 1928, so we are Australian branch of the Drain lineage.  Tom set the family on a strong football dynasty. William played for a division club here called Victoria Park. They won the cup 6 years running and he is now in the hall of fame and Tom's grandson Ted followed into football playing for Australia and also in the hall of fame." -
Neil Flanders July 2023

More about Ted Drain, grandson of Tom, from the Grassroots Football Project:

"Ted Drain, Socceroo #93 was a player typical of his generation. Winter it was football, Summer it was cricket & he excelled at both. The season of 1944 saw the youngster average 102 with the bat and gain representative selection with the Illawarra Colts, but when Winter rolled around he really shone. Growing up in the northern suburbs of Wollongong, Drain learned his football with the Tarrawanna club in the shadow of the Illawarra escarpment in an era of great football strength in the region. Drain won the first of his caps alongside his Woonona team-mate Charlie Stewart against the touring Sth Africans in 1947 in a team that introduced a number of legendary names in Australian football. A controversial figure in later years, Drain would figure in the all conquering Corrimal side of the mid 50s."









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