Tommy Hughes started out with semi-professional side Clydebank before joining Chelsea in 1966. However, he was always understudy to Peter Bonetti meaning he made just 11 appearances in four years. Tommy won two Scottish under-23 caps whilst at Chelsea.
Hughes was transferred to Aston Villa for £12,500 in May 1971. Hughes played sixteen times for Aston Villa in 1971-72, when Villa just pipped the Seagulls for the Third Division championship. Hughes then lost his place at Aston Villa to Jim Cumbes.
He went on loan to Brighton for a month in February 1973 when Brighton were struggling at the bottom of the Second Division. Tommy played three games for Brighton, whose manager Pat Seward was keen to sign him as permanently. Brighton could not match the asking price, and Tommy was transferred to Hereford United in August 1973 for £15,000.
He spent nine seasons with Hereford United, and was a part of the side which won the Third Division championship in 1975-76.