Tommy was unfortunate to span the years between our two League Championship winning sides.
Associated with the club between 1945 and 1960, he scored 47 goals in 205 League appearances adding four goals in 17 FA Cup games.
His frail physique belied his technical ability which was second to none. Standing five feet six inches tall and weighing around nine stone, 'Harmer the Charmer' as he was affectionately known, was considered a master dribbler whose close ball control baffled many opponents. The press dubbed him as a cheeky, chirpy little Cockney.
Born at London Fields, Hackney on February 2, 1928, Thomas Charles Harmer was an only child, his father a French Polisher by trade. Tommy left London Fields L.C.C. School aged 14 and took up an apprenticeship as a printers’ warehouseman with the long established City of London firm Blades, East & Blades.
Having played for Hackney Schools, Tommy signed amateur forms for us on August 17, 1945 and joined our Tottenham Juniors set up. He was a member of the 1945-46 squad which won the North London Alliance League Division II title, Middlesex Minor Cup and Tottenham Charity Shield. They followed that up in season 1946-47 by winning the London Minor, Middlesex Minor and Waltham Junior Cups.
His National Service was spent with the Army, based at Bicester, where he played for his regimental side and was selected for several British Army matches.
Tommy made his first appearance for our ‘A’ team in a friendly match during September, 1947 and had a spell with Finchley to develop before signing professional forms on August 12, 1948.
He featured in our first ever match in the Eastern Counties League – at Clacton Town on August 21, 1948 – and made his reserve team debut against Portsmouth five weeks later. By the time he emerged to make his Football League debut against Bolton Wanderers on September 8, 1951, Tommy had scored over 30 goals in around 100 competitive appearances for our intermediate teams.
Tommy’s only international honour came on March 26, 1952 when he played for England ‘B’ versus The Netherlands at the Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam. A 60,000 crowd saw England win 1-0. Tommy also featured in an England ‘B’ trial match five weeks later, against a British Olympic XI at Highbury.
Probably his greatest game in our colours came on the day Bill Nicholson was appointed manager in 1958. Everton were defeated 10-4 with Tommy scoring one goal and having a hand in most of the others.
Tommy’s final senior appearance was against Manchester City on April 16, 1960 but he remained on our books until joining Watford for a £6,000 fee on October 26. By that time he had taken his tally for our reserve and ‘A’ teams to 232 games, netting 72 goals. Amongst the honours won whilst with us, Tommy gained Eastern Counties League championship and East Anglian Cup medals during 1949-50, Football Combination champions in 1955-56 and a London Challenge Cup medal in 1958-59.
His two years at Vicarage Road under former colleague Ron Burgess yielded 74 senior appearances, scoring seven goals. He moved on to Chelsea for a £3,500 fee during September, 1962, combining nine senior appearances with coaching their youth team until spending season 1967-68 with Hastings United.
After football, Tommy worked for a printing firm in Hatton Garden and then as a messenger for a London bank.
A tribute dinner to ‘Harmer the Charmer’ was staged at a West End hotel on April 29, 2004. Tommy was a regular visitor to home games in recent years, usually in our East Stand Legends lounge.
Tommy and his wife Jean – they were married during February, 1952 - lived in the same house at Wood Green as during his playing days.
Our thoughts are with Jean, son Tommy and grandchildren Emma and Louise plus all family and friends at this sad time.
One minute’s applause was held prior to kick off of our home match with Fulham on Boxing Day and our players wore black armbands.
With thanks to Club Historian Andy Porter...
We were all saddened to hear of the passing of one of the Club's greats, Tommy Harmer, on Christmas Day at the age of 79.