That Exeter-born Tom Curtis saw any success at Saltergate was remarkable when one remembers that, for the first three years of his Town career, he was a full-time student at Loughborough University and only trained with the team on Fridays. He had gone to university after an apprenticeship at Derby County had come to nothing and, despite the disruption that university life must have posed to his football career, he soon established himself and became a key member of the side.
His tigerish, ball-winning qualities were noticed first as the team battled through the Third Division play-offs, and the passing side of his game blossomed in the higher class of Second Division football. It was rumoured that West Bromwich Albion made an unsuccessful six-figure bid for him in 1995-6. He enjoyed shooting from distance and his long throw was a regular feature of Chesterfield attacks. Great composure was usually evident in his play, never more so than when dispatching the penalty kick that knocked Nottingham Forest out of the FA Cup in 1997.
was preparing for life in Division Three with relegated Chesterfield in 2000
when Portsmouth came in with a £50,000 bid, with enhancements. He scored a
belting goal on his Pompey debut, in a friendly at Woking, but injury deprived
him of a chance to claim a first-team place under manager Tony Pulis before he
was sacked a few months after signing Tom; successive managers in Steve
Claridge, Graham Rix and Harry Redknapp didn't see Tom in their plans and he
was allowed to join Mansfield Town on a free in December 2002. Given his Spireite
connections it took a while for many Stags fans to warm to him but, by the time
he followed manager Keith Curle to Chester in 2005, Tom had gone a long way
towards achieving that. A year at Chester was followed by another at Notts
County, but injury and a revolving door on the gaffer's office prevented his
making more than just two appearances as a substitute.
In 2007 Tom returned to Loughborough, to coach the college's first team players. He renewed acquantances with his old mentor John Duncan, who was coaching the university's side in the Midland combination.
2008 saw Tom appointed as Assistant Coach to the British Universities' XI. In March 2011 Tom took up a position with the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association, as Technical Director and Head Coach. The job involved managing Antigua's only professional team, Antigua Barracuda, who play in what is effectively the third tier of the USA's professional set-up.
Tom returned to the UK in November 2012 to become Academy Director at Bristol Rovers.
For Chesterfield: 235+5 league appearances, 12 goals.