Player #335

1/1

Eric Houghton

Winger

From:

To:

1929-30

1946-47

Previous Clubs

Villa Career

Subsequent Clubs

Billingborough Council School |
Donnington School |
Boston Town |
Billingborough Rovers |
Billingborough FC |

1929-46 Aston Villa, Free, 393 (169) |

Notts County |

Villa Seasons

Seasons

1929-30
1930-31
1931-32
1932-33
1933-34
1934-35
1935-36
1936-37
1937-38
1938-39
1945-46
1946-47

Appearances

23
43
39
45
47
42
41
29
41
39
0
4

Goals

14
30
23
13
23
12
15
13
14
12
0
0

AT A GLANCE

William Eric Houghton

Birth Date

Wednesday, 29 June 1910

Birth Place 

Billingborough, Lincolnshire

England

TRANSFER IN

Transfer Date

August 1927

Joined From

Billingborough FC

Transfer Fee

Free

Aged

PLAYING RECORD

Playing Position

Winger

Seasons Active

1929-30

to

1946-47

Appearances

393

Goals

169

Played Under

Billy Smith led Management Committee |
Jimmy McMullan |
Jimmy Hogan |
Alex Massie |

KEY DATES

First Squad Appearance

Saturday, 4 January 1930

Debut Appearance

Saturday, 4 January 1930

First Goal

Saturday, 11 January 1930

Final Appearance

Monday, 16 September 1946

Final Squad Appearance

Monday, 16 September 1946

TRANSFER OUT

Transfer Date

September 1946

Moved To

Notts County

Transfer Fee

Free

Aged

MISCELLANEOUS

Height

Foot

Honours

Eric Houghton

BIOGRAPHY

Player #335 for Aston Villa, William Eric Houghton, known as Eric Houghton, and nicknamed Coog, played as a winger for the club in the outside left position. Eric played for Villa between 1929-30 and 1946–47 making 393 appearances and scoring 169 goals.

Eric was born in Billingborough, Lincolnshire on 29 June 1910 and made his debut appearance for Villa on the 4 January 1930 aged 19.

Eric came to Villa Park as a youth in 1927 and for many seasons was a brilliant outside left, quiet and unassuming he could kick a dead ball harder than any other member of the team and was Villa’s first choice for taking penalties and free kicks

However Eric was more than just a legendary player; he went on to become Villa’s Manager from August 1953 to November 1958; then returned to the club in 1970 for a stint as coach at the Youth Development Department before becoming a club director in September 1972, a position he held until December 1979. Eric would return once more, this time as Villa’s senior vice-president - a role he served from January 1983 until his death, aged 85 in 1995.

Eric signed as a seventeen-year-old and once he’d made his debut 18 months there was no looking back for this most special of players. His greatest attribute proved to be his powerful shot which was regarded as the hardest of the era,

Eric hit 14 goals in 23 games in his debut season, following that with 30 as Villa finished runners-up in his second season.

In total Eric scored 31 penalties and proved a free kick specialist throughout his career.

Like many players of the era Eric’s career was interrupted by WW2 and it remains a curiosity to imagine just how many goals and appearances he would have racked up for Villa had war not broken out. In league football alone he scored 160 goals in his 10 seasons to 1938-39.

Happily Eric did return for Villa after the war and featured in the post war regional league before full league football resumed in 1946-47.

Eric scored in his last game for Villa on Boxing Day 1946 in a Central League match with Huddersfield Town, the goal came from the penalty spot with the last kick of the match after the referee extended time to enable the kick to be taken.

Eric’s final game for Villa came in the 1946-47 on 16 September 1946 and in December of that year, aged 36, he moved on to Notts County where he would finish his playing career in 1949 having scored 10 goals in 60 appearances.

Eric was also a first class cricketer, playing for Lincolnshire before the way and was opening bat for Aston Unity and signed amateur forms with Warwickshire in 1946.

Eric was subsequently appointed manager of Notts County in May 1949 and guided them to the Third Division (South) Championship in his first full season of 1949-50.

Eric continued managing Notts County for 4 seasons before he returned to his spiritual home, Villa Park, to become Villa’s manager in September 1953.

Eric guided Villa to a record seventh FA Cup triumph when they beat Manchester United in 1957, however he was to leave the job in November 1958 in the 1958-59 season that saw Villa relegated to the second tier.

Despite that disappointment, Eric’s contribution to the club was far from over and he returned a third time 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 and was often referred to as Mr Aston Villa in recognition of his long standing service and contribution to the club.

Eric had played under the Billy Smith led Management Committee and Villa’s first manager proper, Jimmy McMullan as well as Jimmy Hogan and Alex Massie.

Eric passed away in Sutton Coldfield on 1 May 1995 aged 85.

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