Houghton Harold Image 1 Bristol Rovers 1936

Houghton Harold Image 1 Bristol Rovers 1936


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An England Schoolboy international in 1919-20, Liverpool born inside forward Harold Houghton began his football career with Anfield Social Club in 1921 before joining First Division Everton in January 1922, waiting until March 1928 to make his Football League debut, and only appearance for The Toffees, against Portsmouth in a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park. In June 1928 he joined Exeter City for £350, a club record fee for The Grecians at the time but it would prove money well spent.

Houghton made his Exeter City debut in a 4-2 defeat at Brentford on the opening day of the 1928-29 season and netted the first of 8 goals in 27 appearances. In 1929-30 he added a further 11 goals in 29 starts and he then played a major part in the City side that reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup in 1930-31, scoring against Sunderland in the quarter final at Roker Park in a match that finished 1-1, before Exeter were knocked out 4-2 in the replay at St James’ Park. Houghton scored 4 goals in 8 cup ties in their run and was an ever present that season, scoring 27 goals in the campaign.

In recognition Houghton was a member of the Football Association team that toured Canada in 1931.

Houghton followed up his 1930-31 achievements with a further 16 goals in 33 outings the following season. Ever present again in 1932-33, and the scorer of another 13 goals, not surprisingly his form was being taken note of by other clubs. ‘Happy’, as he was nicknamed, was sold to Norwich City in March 1934 for a fee, plus a player, namely full back William Smith after 83 goals in 225 appearances for The Grecians. Ironically he made his Norwich debut against Exeter City, and helped them to win the 1934 Third Division (South) Championship at the end of the season.

He stayed a further two seasons at Norwich, scoring 10 goals in 56 appearances for The Canaries, before signing for Bristol Rovers in November 1935, where he continued his good goals to games ratio in his final two seasons of his League career, scoring 26 goals in 71 appearances for The Pirates before joining non league South Liverpool in the summer of 1937, with whom he finished his career.


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