Thomas Bradshaw was born in Liverpool on 24th August, 1873. He began his career at Northwich Victoria.
Bradshaw was signed for Liverpool in October 1893 and scored on his debut against Arsenal later that month. Originally playing as a centre-forward he was a member of Liverpool's Second Division championship-winning team in 1893/1894. He scored 7 goals in 14 matches.
The following season he scored 17 goals but could not stop Liverpool from being relegated. According to Tony Matthews (Who's Who of Liverpool): "Bradshaw started out as an inside or centre-forward before developing into a wonderful left-winger, fast and tricky with a strong shot."
Bradshaw won a second Second Division championship medal in the 1895-96 season. The following year he won his first and only international cap playing for England against Ireland on 20th February, 1897. The England team that day included Charlie Athersmith, Steve Bloomer, Ernest Needham, John Robinson, Gilbert Smith and George Wheldon.
Bradshaw was an active member of the Association Footballers' Union and this caused his problems with his employers and eventually resulted in him leaving the club. Bradshaw scored 53 goals in 138 games for Liverpool before being transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in May 1898.
In 1899, Francis Payne, the club secretary, was given the task of finding good players for Thames Iron Works to prepare them for the first season in the top division of the Southern League. According to one report, Arnold Hills, gave Payne £1,000 to find the best players available. With this money he brought Tom Bradshaw, Bill Joyce and Ken McKay from Tottenham.
Bradshaw's fifth game was a FA Cup match against Millwall. A crowd of 13,000 saw Bradshaw score but the club lost the game 2-1. It was the last game he played dying on 25th December 1899. Officially the 26 year old Bradshaw died of tuberculosis. However, friends claimed that he had been complaining of terrible pains when he headed the ball. This he blamed on a game he had played several years previously when a member of the Liverpool team. Did he receive a blow to the head while playing against Millwall? Bradshaw was a popular player and if the fans thought this was the case might have caused considerable anger towards Millwall.
Bradshaw’s death also increased hostility towards Spurs. In 1899, Francis Payne, the club secretary, was given the task of finding good players for Thames Iron Works to prepare them for the first season in the top division of the Southern League. His record signing of £1000 was Bradshaw from Spurs. Hammers’ fans were convinced that Spurs would have known he was suffering from tuberculosis when they sold him. Bradshaw, who was only 26 years old, left a widow and two young children.