Times article on Keith Houchen

better days

Well-Known Member
May 8, 2016
2,611
2,284
163
FOOTBALL

Me and my medals: Keith Houchen, 1987 FA Cup winner with Coventry City
November 9 2019, 12:01am, The Times

Houchen with his FA Cup and Charity Shield medals from 1987GUZELIAN
Share
Save
FA Cup legend Keith Houchen scored a flying header for Coventry in the 1987 final and knocked out Arsenal with York

The header
This was one of the first Cup finals where they had a camera in the goal. I’ve got this picture from every angle: looking straight into the net, from behind me so you can see the cameramen and from the left so you can see the linesman. At the end of the day, football is a game of instinct. The only way I could get on the end of Dave Bennett’s cross was to throw myself at the ball. I’ve looked at some of the photographs close up and I’m convinced I’m smiling as I head it.

Uefa Cup pennant
I collared this when I played for Hibernian in a 3-0 win at Videoton in the Uefa Cup in 1989. It was the best game I ever played. Every dummy came off, every flick, every lay-off went exactly where I wanted it to. Any player will tell you, there are games where everything just comes together.

North East awards
These silver discs were given to the best player from the North East. I won four after getting into the Hartlepool side. I was proud of them — you were competing against players from Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.


Houchen’s header is one of the most famous FA Cup final goals of all timeGETTY IMAGES
Giantkilling in the snow
We had a really good side at York in 1985 and were demolishing everybody on our way to winning the Fourth Division when we drew Arsenal in the fourth round. Half the pitch was frozen. In the last minute, I was running to the box and Steve Williams kept fouling me. I carried him for a few yards to make sure I got into the box. I loved taking penalties — I saw them as a free goal.

FA Cup and Charity Shield medals
I took ill the week before the FA Cup final. Jake Findlay, Coventry’s reserve goalkeeper, used to go fishing and brought me this big fish. I ate it and was in bed when John Sillett, our manager, took the team to Wembley. The first time I walked in the ground was in my suit on Cup final day.
 

Philosorapter

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2013
2,445
1,099
163
I would agree with 'instinct' or intuition. It's a learnt skill on how to react to familiar patterns.
 

Skybluefaz

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2011
4,243
3,532
263
Coventry
They were £1 million pound plus players
Which is not a whacking load of money in transfer terms, nowadays. Can't really tell how it compares to £60,000 in 1985 for a player because football transfer fee inflation is fucking ridiculous. I get the sentiment, it won't be as common but we still have seen players working their way up from the bottom leagues to the top level
 

Skybluefaz

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2011
4,243
3,532
263
Coventry
It's a great image that photo, Regis looks like he's just headed it himself, Pickering is breaking into a smile as the ball passes Clemence, the look of anguish on Houghton's face, even Midgley looks like he's smashing it in on the volley.
The pitch looks incredible to
 

Happy_Martian

Well-Known Member
Jan 1, 2013
1,226
372
183
Went to a preseason friendly at Port Vale against a nonleague club when Houch moved there in 1989-90ish. Great guy, very personable and had never let his stardom (albeit fleeting) get to him.
 

MusicDating

Euro 2016 Prediction League Champion!!
Mar 27, 2011
1,629
1,027
263
It's a great image that photo, Regis looks like he's just headed it himself, Pickering is breaking into a smile as the ball passes Clemence, the look of anguish on Houghton's face, even Midgley looks like he's smashing it in on the volley.
Yer, absolutely. Bought a few signed ones a few years back and gave to me bro/dad. I'd have loved Cyrille to have scored in the final as he was so instrumental in getting us there.
 

steve cooper

Well-Known Member
Dec 6, 2017
751
630
93
It's a great image that photo, Regis looks like he's just headed it himself, Pickering is breaking into a smile as the ball passes Clemence, the look of anguish on Houghton's face, even Midgley looks like he's smashing it in on the volley.
Is it my imagination, but it seems that no player's feet are on the ground in that picture except for the goalkeeper
 
  • Like
Reactions: Johnnythespider

Sky_Blue_Dreamer

Well-Known Member
Aug 16, 2018
6,533
3,965
113
The advent of the greed is good league means stories like this literally are historic and will not occur again
Although I agree to a point that stories like this are very, very unlikely to happen (but not impossible) I find it amazing that you of all people are having a go at the mantra of 'greed is good'.
 

Legia Sky Blue

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2017
778
613
93
Yer, absolutely. Bought a few signed ones a few years back and gave to me bro/dad. I'd have loved Cyrille to have scored in the final as he was so instrumental in getting us there.
If I remember right he did, but it was unfortunately disallowed.
 

hill83

Well-Known Member
Sep 15, 2008
14,778
16,119
363
Coventry
This is a genuine question as I don’t know anything about him other than the cup final goal and a quick Wikipedia check. Was he good? He’s down as a forward and doesn’t seem to have many goals for us.

Was he even about goals?
 

Legia Sky Blue

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2017
778
613
93
The cup winning season was an odd one as he struggled for goals in the League, where quite often we preferred to play Dave Bennett up front with Regis. The cup was a different matter though. The following season we signed Speedie and Houch was then only ever really a bit part player after that. He never let us down though, and he was a decent squad player. The goals he did score always seemed important, as I also remember him scoring the winner in our first ever win over Villa.
 

MusicDating

Euro 2016 Prediction League Champion!!
Mar 27, 2011
1,629
1,027
263
This is a genuine question as I don’t know anything about him other than the cup final goal and a quick Wikipedia check. Was he good? He’s down as a forward and doesn’t seem to have many goals for us.

Was he even about goals?
I maybe a bit rose-tinted as he played in the same position as me and in my formative years, but it seemed like he wasn't the quickest, yet never lost a sprint, not the tallest, yet never lost a header, wasn't aggressive, yet never backed down.

I remember seeing him at the Ricoh (could well have been before the WBA 0-5 game) outside the ticket office, he still looked immense and number of people that he spoke to was remarkable. A talisman in so many ways.
 

RegTheDonk

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2011
2,848
1,094
163
This is a genuine question as I don’t know anything about him other than the cup final goal and a quick Wikipedia check. Was he good? He’s down as a forward and doesn’t seem to have many goals for us.

Was he even about goals?
"Slouchy Houchey" Sillet used to call him, he said. Or "Sloppy" lol.

He wasn't anything special IMHO, a bit clumsy, but he had good control and could hold the ball up. Not prolific at all - but that season it just seemed to click for him in the cup and he became Roy of the Rovers, it was boys own stuff. His heart was always in it and he gave his best, but writing was on the wall when Speedie came in. Fond memories for the obvious reasons and, as Martian says, a decent chap.
 

DannyThomas_1981

Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2017
1,069
1,290
163
This is a genuine question as I don’t know anything about him other than the cup final goal and a quick Wikipedia check. Was he good? He’s down as a forward and doesn’t seem to have many goals for us.

Was he even about goals?
That's a very good question.

Houch was a lower league forward and was not that impressive from what I recall in his early appearances. Improved a lot when he was reintroduced into the team after a time in the reserves - I think Sillettt played a big part in that improvement. Also beneffitted from Bennett's brilliance in pinging the ball in and creating chances - in my view Bennett is actually under-rated by City fans and one of the best players to ever wear the shirt.

I guess you could call Houch a poor man's Mick Ferguson. And I mean that as a compliment as Ferguson is one of our greatest. Houch was very good in the air, decent enough on the ground and worked hard in creating space for others.
 

DannyThomas_1981

Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2017
1,069
1,290
163
The other more controversial question is if Speedie was the right signing at the right time.
He was brilliant but I never was sold on the idea that he fitted our team at that time.
I think Sillett now sees the signing as a mistake as Speedo for all his brilliance disrupted the dressing room and was by many accounts unmanageable.
The 87 team really need a high class midfield general/playmaker to take it forward vs. paying big money for a striker.
Not saying that Speedo wasn't a brilliant player and many see him for very good reasons as an icon. Our transfer record after the Cup win was not that great in general (a crocked Drinkell a best case example).
 

DannyThomas_1981

Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2017
1,069
1,290
163
FOOTBALL

Me and my medals: Keith Houchen, 1987 FA Cup winner with Coventry City
November 9 2019, 12:01am, The Times

Houchen with his FA Cup and Charity Shield medals from 1987GUZELIAN
Share
Save
FA Cup legend Keith Houchen scored a flying header for Coventry in the 1987 final and knocked out Arsenal with York

The header
This was one of the first Cup finals where they had a camera in the goal. I’ve got this picture from every angle: looking straight into the net, from behind me so you can see the cameramen and from the left so you can see the linesman. At the end of the day, football is a game of instinct. The only way I could get on the end of Dave Bennett’s cross was to throw myself at the ball. I’ve looked at some of the photographs close up and I’m convinced I’m smiling as I head it.

Uefa Cup pennant
I collared this when I played for Hibernian in a 3-0 win at Videoton in the Uefa Cup in 1989. It was the best game I ever played. Every dummy came off, every flick, every lay-off went exactly where I wanted it to. Any player will tell you, there are games where everything just comes together.

North East awards
These silver discs were given to the best player from the North East. I won four after getting into the Hartlepool side. I was proud of them — you were competing against players from Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.


Houchen’s header is one of the most famous FA Cup final goals of all timeGETTY IMAGES
Giantkilling in the snow
We had a really good side at York in 1985 and were demolishing everybody on our way to winning the Fourth Division when we drew Arsenal in the fourth round. Half the pitch was frozen. In the last minute, I was running to the box and Steve Williams kept fouling me. I carried him for a few yards to make sure I got into the box. I loved taking penalties — I saw them as a free goal.

FA Cup and Charity Shield medals
I took ill the week before the FA Cup final. Jake Findlay, Coventry’s reserve goalkeeper, used to go fishing and brought me this big fish. I ate it and was in bed when John Sillett, our manager, took the team to Wembley. The first time I walked in the ground was in my suit on Cup final day.

Houch still looks fighting fit - good stuff. And I don't think the haircut has changed since 87 either!
 

Calista

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2013
947
621
143
I think Houchen’s all-round performances in the cup-winning season are underrated, possibly because that moment in the final became so famous. He certainly wasn’t out of place in the top flight that year. He was absolutely outstanding, a proper centre forward, plenty of skill, reliable and clever with it. He definitely took the weight off Cyrille and brought the best out in him, and although Speedie came in the next year and got hero-worshipped, I never felt the balance of the side was quite the same again. On top of the acrobatic header in the final, Houch’s goals in the quarter-final and semi-final were such classy finishes. I can still see them in my mind’s eye, I’m standing on those terraces at Hillsborough again and the pulse starts racing. What a team it was, deserved cup winners and so many great games in the league too.
 

Houchens Head

Fairly well known member from Malvern
Jan 24, 2011
10,848
4,625
163
Malvern
One of my most favourite and memorable players ever! "That" goal is still talked about all over the country, even these days, some 32 years later! Unforgettable! My greatest CCFC memory ever, hence my choice of username.
 

MusicDating

Euro 2016 Prediction League Champion!!
Mar 27, 2011
1,629
1,027
263
I maybe a bit rose-tinted as he played in the same position as me and in my formative years, but it seemed like he wasn't the quickest, yet never lost a sprint, not the tallest, yet never lost a header, wasn't aggressive, yet never backed down.

I remember seeing him at the Ricoh (could well have been before the WBA 0-5 game) outside the ticket office, he still looked immense and number of people that he spoke to was remarkable. A talisman in so many ways.
Ah yes, realise hill was asking the question about Houch and not Cyrille, feel a bit embarrassed now. Apologies.
 

Legia Sky Blue

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2017
778
613
93
The other more controversial question is if Speedie was the right signing at the right time.
He was brilliant but I never was sold on the idea that he fitted our team at that time.
I think Sillett now sees the signing as a mistake as Speedo for all his brilliance disrupted the dressing room and was by many accounts unmanageable.
The 87 team really need a high class midfield general/playmaker to take it forward vs. paying big money for a striker.
Not saying that Speedo wasn't a brilliant player and many see him for very good reasons as an icon. Our transfer record after the Cup win was not that great in general (a crocked Drinkell a best case example).
I disagree Danny. I know he was a prickly character but Speedie was definitely a team player and the 'unmanageable' stuff is an urban legend connected to his final days with the club when he had a set to with a corporate sponsor. Our problem was that he should have been the first of a number of players brought into strengthen us. I know we tried to sign Ian Dawes (in place of Downs), Dennis Wise and Ian Crook in the following 2 seasons, who would have made us a much stronger force,, while still retaining the base of the Cup Final team.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DannyThomas_1981

DannyThomas_1981

Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2017
1,069
1,290
163
I disagree Danny. I know he was a prickly character but Speedie was definitely a team player and the 'unmanageable' stuff is an urban legend connected to his final days with the club when he had a set to with a corporate sponsor. Our problem was that he should have been the first of a number of players brought into strengthen us. I know we tried to sign Ian Dawes (in place of Downs), Dennis Wise and Ian Crook in the following 2 seasons, who would have made us a much stronger force,, while still retaining the base of the Cup Final team.
I agree with most of what you say Legia for sure. 100% agree we needed that high quality addition to midfield and a dynamic left back. For me both of these issues needed fixing ahead of adding to our forward line.

Not saying that Speedie didn't play for the team either and he certainly was highly talented.

The only difference I think in our viewpoint is that Sillett himself has said that Speedie was disruptive in the dressing room and basically unmanageable. I certainly think you have a case though in saying that his contribution on the pitch outweighed that negative.

I'm just not certain that he was the right fit for that Cup Final team at that time - it dismantled the Regis - Houchen partnership and I just feel we had bigger problems to fix elsewhere.
 

DannyThomas_1981

Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2017
1,069
1,290
163
I disagree Danny. I know he was a prickly character but Speedie was definitely a team player and the 'unmanageable' stuff is an urban legend connected to his final days with the club when he had a set to with a corporate sponsor. Our problem was that he should have been the first of a number of players brought into strengthen us. I know we tried to sign Ian Dawes (in place of Downs), Dennis Wise and Ian Crook in the following 2 seasons, who would have made us a much stronger force,, while still retaining the base of the Cup Final team.
Just imagining if those signings had happened.....;.

Our team the season after the FA cup win could have looked something like the following (playing 3-5-2 Italia 90 style):

Ogrizovic

Borrows Kilcline Peake

Phillips Dawes

Gynn Crook Wise

Bennett Regis

That's a top 4 team in 88/89.
 

Legia Sky Blue

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2017
778
613
93
Yes I don't think we are too far away in our assessments, but where you say Sillett said he was disruptive and unmanageable - where was that, because I have never read any such comments, and a quick google search doesn't seem to come up with any either.

Secondly in respect of dismantling the Regis/ Houchen partnership, you have to remember that Houchen only started 20 league games in 1986/87, scoring only 2 goals, so was far from a regular, even before we signed Speedie. Although I obviously do have great memories of Houch, I honestly don't think we would have been better off persevering with him, rather than signing Speedie.
 

Legia Sky Blue

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2017
778
613
93
Just imagining if those signings had happened.....;.

Our team the season after the FA cup win could have looked something like the following (playing 3-5-2 Italia 90 style):

Ogrizovic

Borrows Kilcline Peake

Phillips Dawes

Gynn Crook Wise

Bennett Regis

That's a top 4 team in 88/89.
Also remember the emergence of Steve Sedgley and David Smith (who was very good at that time)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nonleagueherewecome

DannyThomas_1981

Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2017
1,069
1,290
163
Yes I don't think we are too far away in our assessments, but where you say Sillett said he was disruptive and unmanageable - where was that, because I have never read any such comments, and a quick google search doesn't seem to come up with any either.

Secondly in respect of dismantling the Regis/ Houchen partnership, you have to remember that Houchen only started 20 league games in 1986/87, scoring only 2 goals, so was far from a regular, even before we signed Speedie. Although I obviously do have great memories of Houch, I honestly don't think we would have been better off persevering with him, rather than signing Speedie.
Fair points Legia. I've taken the comments from Sillett from a fairly long interview on youtube. I was surprised at how upfront he was - there was certainly lots going on behind the scenes that was kept out of the public eye at the time.
 

Nonleagueherewecome

Well-Known Member
Mar 27, 2011
10,938
794
163
Also remember the emergence of Steve Sedgley and David Smith (who was very good at that time)
If you watch Speedo's City goals highlights, you could easily be confused into thinking that his name was "Smith....Speedie!".
 

archieboy

Member
Apr 18, 2010
18
20
3
It's a great image that photo, Regis looks like he's just headed it himself, Pickering is breaking into a smile as the ball passes Clemence, the look of anguish on Houghton's face, even Midgley looks like he's smashing it in on the volley.
I had a great chat with houchen at legends day last season and he said pickering was yelling at him “fly houchy fly!!” as he threw himself! He said whenever he calls Nick now that’s what he says when he answers too!