Aston Villa: top 30 players - Number 15

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

We continue our countdown of the greatest players in Aston Villa's history with a prolific winger who also made his mark at the club as a manager and director.

15. Eric Houghton

Born: Billingborough, 29 June 1910

Aston Villa career: 1927-1946

Appearances: 392 Goals: 170

A goalscoring winger with a ferocious shot, Houghton’s renowned ability to strike the heavy leather footballs of his era like a sledgehammer helped him dispatch some 30 free-kicks and over 70 penalties during his time at Aston Villa.

Signed in 1927 at the age of 17, the Lincolnshire native made his first-team debut for the claret and blues in January 1930 and went on to finish his debut campaign with 12 goals from just 19 league games.

He scored 30 of Villa’s top-flight record 128 goals the following year and hit double figures in each of the next eight seasons leading up to the Second World War, helping the club twice finish Division One runners-up.

His impressive form earned him seven England caps in the early 1930s, while he also scored 87 unofficial war-time goals and was a member of the Villa team that beat Blackpool over two legs in the 1944 War Cup final.

His spell in the West Midlands eventually came to an end in 1946 when he left for Notts County, but it was not the last Villa had seen of Houghton.

The set-piece specialist subsequently returned to Villa Park in 1953 as manager and cemented his hero status at the club four years later by guiding them to a record seventh FA Cup title, beating Manchester United 2-1 in the 1957 final courtesy of a Peter McParland brace.

He was forced to move on the following year after a change of chairman but later returned for a second time to serve as a director and senior vice-president, earning the moniker “Mr Aston Villa” in the process.

Aston Villa: top 30 players

Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24, Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number 19, Number 18, Number 17, Number 16

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