Tony Daley joined his hometown club, Aston Villa, as an apprentice at the age of 14 and made his senior debut, aged 17, on 20 April 1985 in a 2–0 defeat at Southampton. He played for the Midlands club for ten seasons, nine at the highest level, and finished a runner-up in both the 1989-1990 and 1992-1993 league championships.
He also played in their victorious 1994 League Cup Final against Manchester United at Wembley and nearly got onto the scoresheet, but his shot hit the post and was rebounded by Dalian Atkinson only for Andrei Kanchelskis to block it with a handball for which he was sent off. Dean Saunders converted the penalty and put Villa 3–1 ahead, a scoreline which formed the final result and gave Villa a record fifth League Cup win. Daley collected what would be the only major trophy of his career.
During this period, Daley was capped seven times for England between 1991 and 1992 under former club manager Graham Taylor. He made his full debut as a substitute in a vital 1–1 draw in Poland on 13 November 1991 that saw England qualify for 1992 European Championships. He was subsequently chosen for the squad at the tournament and played in two of England's three games there, but after the tournament he never played for England again.
Daley linked up with Graham Taylor again as he finally left Villa for Wolverhampton Wanderers in July 1994 for £1.25 million, along with his former-Villa teammate, Steve Froggatt, but he was plagued with injuries and was only able to manage 21 appearances for the club in four seasons.
He was signed once more in July 1998 by Graham Taylor, who was Watford manager, on a free transfer. His injury woes continued though and he struggled to get fit, missing the final months as the club won promotion to the Premier League. He was given a free transfer to newly promoted Division One side, Walsall in June 1999, and after a six-month spell there, he finished his playing career with Conference side Forest Green Rovers, finally hanging up his boots in July 2002.
Daley's perhaps best known goal came in a First Division game against Everton at Villa Park on 22 October 1988, a spectacular flying volley in a 2–0 win for Villa, the goal quickly, thanks in no small part to the popular football video series 'Goals Galore', became known as 'Daley's Dazzler' and is also remembered for full-back Chris Price (who supplied the cross) having a little celebration all of his own.