Tom Fairfoul was born in West Calder, Scotland, on 16th January 1881. A right-half he played for Kilmarnock and Third Lanark in the Scottish League. After playing in over 200 league games he joined Liverpool in August 1913.
Fairfoul was a great success in the Football League and after making his debut in September 1913 was a regular in the first-team. Tony Matthews (Who's Who of Liverpool) claimed "he proved to be an excellent signing and gave the Reds defence extra stability during the last two seasons prior to the Great War". Fairfoul also appeared in the FA Cup Final against Burnley in April 1914. Unfortunately, Liverpool lost 1-0.
On 2nd April, 1915, Fairfoul played in the side that was beaten 2-0 by Manchester United. Afterwards, bookmakers claimed that they had taken a great deal of money on the 7-1 odds offered on a 2-0 United victory. They suspected that the game had been fixed and pointed out that late in the game, Jackie Sheldon, had missed a penalty. The bookmakers decided not to pay out on the result and offered a £50 reward for information that would unmask the conspirators.
The Sporting Chronicle newspaper took up the story and claimed that they discovered evidence that players on both sides had got together to concoct a 2-0 scoreline. The newspaper also argued that some of the players had large bets on the result.
The Football League announced it would carry out its own investigation into the case. It published its report in December 1915. It concluded that "a considerable amount of money changed hands by betting on the match and... some of the players profited thereby."
Fairfoul was found guilty of this offence and was banned for playing professional football for life. Three other Liverpool players: Tommy Miller, Jackie Sheldon and Bob Pursell were also banned. The same sentence was imposed on three Manchester United players: Enoch West, Sandy Turnbull and Arthur Whalley. An eighth player, Laurence Cook, who played for Stockport County, was also convicted of being a member of the betting ring.
Tom Fairfoul worked as a taxi-driver in Liverpool before his death in 1952.