He came through the youth ranks as a Seagull and soon broke into the first team on the south coast, making his debut against Reading in December 2005 where he played alongside his brother Gary.
Tommy was first handed the captain’s armband at the age of 20, in the same season that he pipped ex-Tigers striker Nicky Forster to Albion’s Player of the Season award, after making 41 appearances and scoring twice in all competitions. He went on to make 182 appearances for the Seagulls in all competitions and was part of the Brighton squad that enjoyed promotion to the Championship in 2010/11.
In 2012, he left Albion to move along the coastline and sign for Bournemouth. Again, chosen to sport the skipper’s armband, Elphick would win promotion to the Championship in his first full campaign as a Cherry, with 39 appearances in all competitions to his name.
Two years later, Elphick was an ever-present in Bournemouth’s second-tier title win – Eddie Howe’s side accruing 90 points to top the Championship table and earn promotion to the Premier League in 2014/15 and became the only man to captain the club to two separate promotion-winning campaigns in the process. His impressive performances that season also saw him named as the Supporters’ Player of the Year.
His Premier League debut came on the opening day of the 2015/16 season against Aston Villa – the club he would join in the summer of 2016 – and he scored his only top-flight goal past Chelsea’s Asmir Begovic towards the end of that campaign. He departed Dean Court at the end of that season after making 145 appearances for the Cherries and left having been described as an “inspiration and incredible servant” by boss Eddie Howe.
A move to Villa Park saw him become Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing at the club and he was immediately appointed as the club captain and made 26 appearances in his first campaign as an Aston Villa player. Ahead of the 2017/18 season, Elphick was linked with a move to both Birmingham City and Sunderland, but remained at Villa for the first half of the season before joining Reading on loan in January.
Elphick made his Reading debut, where he came on as a substitute for Sone Aluko in the 57th minute, in a 3-1 win over Burton Albion only to suffer a knee injury that sidelined him for two months in his second appearance. However, he returned at the back end of the campaign, playing the full 90 minutes in the Royals’ final game of the season – a goalless draw with Cardiff City – which secured Reading’s Championship status.