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Page Last Updated 15 August 2014
Players Index

Eric Houghton

Aston Villa FC

7 appearances, 5 goals, 1 penalty missed

P 7 W 6 D 0 L 1 F 28: A 12
86% successful


disciplined: none
minutes played:


Full name William Eric Houghton
Born 29 June 1910 in Billingborough, Lincolnshire [registered in Bourne, September 1910].
Attended Donnington Grammar School

Census Notes

According to the 1911 census, the nine month-old Eric is the only child of George and Mary Ethel. His father is a baker and they live in Billingborough High Street.

Died 1 May 1996 in Sutton Coldfield, aged 85 years 307 days [registered in Lichfield, Staffordshire, May 1996].
Height/Weight 5' 8¼", 11st. 10lbs [1938].


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] & FindMyPast.com

Club Career

Club(s) Began his career at Billingborough FC and Boston Town FC, before he signed for Aston Villa FC as an amateur in August 1927, turning professional in August 1928, going on to make 361 league appearances, amassing 160 goals, up until December 1946, when he joined Notts County FC and made a further 55 league appearances, scoring ten goals, until he hung up his boots in May 1949 to become manager.
Club honours Football League runners-up 1930-31, 1932-33; Division Two winners 1937-38;
Individual honours Football League (four appearances)
Distinctions Houghton also played seven first-class matches for Warwickshire County Cricket Club and also minor counties cricket for Lincolnshire County Cricket Club. He also played club cricket for Sleaford, Aston Unity and Olton Cricket Clubs.
Great uncle of goalkeeper,
Chris Woods.


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

Management Career

Club(s) Stepped into the manager's shoes at Notts County FC after he retired from playing in May 1949 until August 1953. A month later, he returned to Aston Villa FC to manage, where he remained until November 1958. He was chief scout at Nottingham Forest FC between July 1959 and November 1960. Managed Rugby Town FC from February 1961, accepting the post as secretary-manager a few months later. He remained with the Rugby side until March 1964. Joined Walsall FC as scout in 1965, then joining the board. Returned to Aston Villa FC as a director in September 1972 until December 1979. Re-joined Walsall FC as general secretary in the early part of the 1980's.
Club honours Football League Division Three (South) winners 1949-50; FA Cup winners 1956-57; FA Charity Shield runners-up 1957;

England Career

Player number One of five who became the 553rd players (557) to appear for England.
Position(s) Outside-left
First match No. 173, 20 October 1930, England 5 Ireland 1, a British Championship match at Bramall Lane, Little Sheffield, Sheffield, aged 20 years 113 days.
Last match No. 184, 7 December 1932, England 4 Austria 3, a friendly match at Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, Fulham, London, aged 22 years 161 days.
Major tournaments British Championships 1930-31, 1931-32;
Team honours British Championships shared 1930-31, winners 1931-32;
Individual honours None
Distinctions None

Beyond England

Remained in football in some capacity throughout his life. He was awarded MCC's advanced coaching certificate in 1971. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.136/7.


Eric Houghton - Career Statistics
Squads Apps Comp.
mins. Goals Goals Av.min Comp.
Capt. Disc.
7 7 4 630 5 126 min 3 none none
Due to the fact that many matches rarely stuck to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries, errors and substitutions.  The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.


Eric Houghton - Match Record - All Matches
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home 3 3 0 0 12 4 +8 0 1 4.00 1.333 100.0 +3
Away 4 3 0 1 16 8 +8 0 1 4.00 2.00 75.0 +2
All 7 6 0 1 28 12 +16 0 2 4.00 1.714 85.7 +5


Eric Houghton - Match Record - By Type of Match
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
British Championship 4 4 0 0 18 3 +15 0 2 4.50 0.75 100.0 +4
Friendly 3 2 0 1 10 9 +1 0 0 3.333 3.00 66.7 +1
All 7 6 0 1 28 12 +16 0 2 4.00 1.714 85.7 +5


Eric Houghton - Match Record - Tournament Matches
British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1930-31 2 2 0 0 9 1 +8 0 1 4.50 0.50 100.0 +2
BC 1931-32 2 2 0 0 9 2 +7 0 1 4.50 1.00 100.0 +2
BC All 4 4 0 0 18 3 +15 0 2 4.50 0.75 100.0 +4
All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 4 4 0 0 18 3 +15 0 2 4.50 0.75 100.0 +4
All 4 4 0 0 18 3 +15 0 2 4.50 0.75 100.0 +4


Eric Houghton - Match History
 Club: Aston Villa F.C. - seven full appearances (630 min), five goals

Coach: F.A. International Select Committee - seven full appearancesx

Age 20
1 173 20 October 1930 - England 5 Ireland 1, Bramall Lane, Sheffield BC HW Start 40 ol
2 174 22 November 1930 - Wales 0 England 4, The Racecourse, Wrexham AW Start ol
3 176 14 May 1931 - France 5 England 2, Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris tour AL Start ol
4 177 16 May 1931 - Belgium 1 England 4, Stade du Daring Club de Bruxelles, Bruxelles AW Start 42 ol

Age 21
5 178 17 October 1931 - Ireland 2 England 6, Windsor Park, Belfast BC AW Start r60,85 ol
6 181 9 April 1932 - England 3 Scotland 0, Empire Stadium, Wembley BC HW Start ol

Age 22
7 184 7 December 1932 - England 4 Austria 3, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Fr HW Start 77 ol


When Eric Houghton kicked a football, it was sensible not to stand in its path. Between the wars, as an Aston Villa and England left-winger, he established a reputation as one of the most destructively powerful marksmen the game had seen. Off the pitch, though, the author of those famously violent strikes was a mild and courteous fellow, and throughout his subsequent career as a manager, the highlight of which was leading his beloved Villa to FA Cup glory in 1957, he ruled by a quiet strength of character which earned him widespread respect.

Houghton had seemed destined for a life in soccer since his teenage days as a prodigiously prolific centre-forward who revelled in turning out for his school on a Saturday morning, then playing for his village side in the afternoon. After excelling in local non-League circles, notably with Boston Town, he was recommended to Aston Villa by an uncle who had once played for the club, signing amateur forms in 1927 and giving up a bakery job to turn professional a year later.

Having been converted into a flankman - Villa were magnificently served in the centre by the revered "Pongo" Waring - Houghton gained rapid promotion to the senior side, uncharacteristically missing a penalty on his debut in January 1930 but impressing generally with his dashing style, his slick manipulation of the ball and, above all, his shooting prowess.

Clearly the eager rookie offered immense promise, but no one expected the Houghton star to ascend quite so instantly as it did during the season of 1930-31, in which he scored 30 times as Villa finished as First Division runners-up, and he was rewarded by an England call-up. He netted in that game, too, a 5-1 victory over All Ireland, and could count himself unlucky that his prime coincided with that of Arsenal's Cliff Bastin, whose brilliance ended Houghton's international involvement only two years later.

At club level, however, the Villa man continued to flourish, and he played a major part in the club's Second Division championship triumph of 1938. All the while the Houghton "howitzer" grew in renown and he became a dead- ball specialist, many of the 170 senior goals he netted before leaving Villa Park in 1946 having come from penalties and free-kicks.

Houghton's new club was lowly Notts County, for whom he played until 1949 when he took over as manager and, with England centre-forward Tommy Lawton at his disposal, led them to the Third Division (South) title in his first campaign at the helm. Three terms of unspectacular consolidation followed before he took the job closest to his heart, that of bossing Aston Villa. Quietly but firmly, he set about revitalising a once-great club now fallen on mediocre times. He gave youngsters a chance and he spent heavily on well-known recruits, but could not achieve his ambition of mounting a realistic championship challenge.

There was uplifting consolation in 1957, though, when the Villans upset the odds to beat newly-crowned League champions Manchester United in the FA Cup Final, albeit in controversial circumstances after United's goalkeeper was seriously injured. However, hopes that the Wembley victory would inspire a general recovery were dashed and, with his side struggling near the foot of the table, a sad Houghton was sacked in November 1958.

Thereafter the popular Eastcountryman joined Nottingham Forest as chief scout and bossed non-League Rugby Town in the early 1960s, before serving Walsall in various capacities, including director. Next he enjoyed a second return to Villa Park, pioneering the club lottery before taking a seat on the board for seven years from 1972, and in 1983 was elevated to senior vice-president.

Houghton - who in his youth had been a sporting all-rounder proficient enough at cricket to play for Lincolnshire at Minor Counties level and Warwickshire Seconds - retained his fervour for football to the end, watching Villa regularly at senior, reserve and youth level until ill health curtailed his activity during the current season. He never tired of reminiscing with supporters, never refused to sign an autograph, was never less than a perfect gentlemen. When Eric Houghton died, Aston Villa lost one of their most loyal servants and an ambassador of immeasurable worth. - The Independant Obituary