There is a school of thought that believes that whatever a player lacks in inches, he makes up for with aggression. Whilst the two Billy's (Askew and Bremner) may add credence to this argument, Tom Bleakley never fitted the stereotype but he would fit comfortably into any Tigers' Hall of Fame. His career with the Club spanned three decades as he joined the Tigers towards the end of the First World War and, throughout that time, his technique and tactical awareness, coupled with his consistency, now affords him legendary status.
Bleakley was the type of player every team needs if they are to operate effectively and, whilst throughout his time with the club there were others who enjoyed a higher profile, it was upon the foundation of Bleakley that their talents were allowed to develop. As his career progressed Bleakley's abilities were used in a variety of ways and it was not uncommon for him to play at centre-half even though his lack of inches would question his effectiveness. But to ask that question was to display a lack of understanding about Tom Bleakley. He was a professional and as such his pride and self-belief would not allow a little matter of height to detract from his performances.
Still playing for the Tigers in his mid thirties it was understandable to expect his prowess to be diminished by the passage of time, and the claims of younger men meant that, in the latter stages of the 1920's, his appearances were not as regular as before. He was still capable though of answering the call when it came and this was never better demonstrated than in the FA Cup run in 1929-30, which saw the Tigers progress as far as the semi-finals.
The first match against Arsenal was a 2-2 draw and in the replay Bleakley was brought in as a replacement for the injured Walsh. His performance was as cultured as ever but fortune favoured the Gunners and they progressed through to the final where they beat Huddersfield to win the Cup. On retiring he joined forces with his ex-Tiger Colleague, Billy Mercer, to run a sports outfitters shop in Hull.