Eric Houghton

Houghton Team Photo

Set Piece Legend

Few people have served Villa as well as Eric Houghton. As a player, he made 392 appearances and scored 170 goals; as a manager he led the club to FA Cup glory; in later years he was a magnificent ambassador for the claret and blue cause.

Houghton’s greatest strength as a footballer was hit ability to strike the ball powerfully, particularly from set-pieces. During a career which spanned two decades, he converted nearly 80 penalties at all levels.

Born in Billingborough, Lincolnshire in June 1910, he joined Villa in 1927, making his first team debut at home to Leeds United in January 1930.

He finished his debut campaign with a dozen goals and the following season contributed 30 to Villa’s top-flight record of 128.

Houghton reached double figures in 10 consecutive seasons leading up to the Second World War, with Villa twice finishing runners-up, although he was unable to prevent the club’s first-ever relegation in 1935-36, despite netting 15 goals.

He also scored 87 “unofficial” goals during the war, and was a member of the Villa team who beat Blackpool over two legs to win the 1944 War Cup final.

His Villa career ended when he joined Notts County in 1946 but seven years later he returned to Villa Park as manager, leading Villa to their 1957 FA Cup triumph over Manchester United. He died in 1995.

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