Harold ‘Happy’ Houghton was Exeter City’s record goalscorer for many years having netted 79 times in 207 league games for the club. Liverpool-born, he had started with Everton before joining Exeter City for £350 in 1928. After earlier rumours linking him with a move to Tottenham, he eventually signed for Norwich in 1934 before appearing for Bristol Rovers and heading home to turn out for South Liverpool.
An England schools international in the 1919/20 season, he played for Anfield Social but did so well at the age of fifteen that he was signed on amateur forms by Everton. A year later he became a professional and stayed at Goodison Park for six seasons during which time he played just one league game.
Despite his lack of first team experience Exeter City paid a fee of £350, a record for the club at that time, for his signature in June 1928 and he made his debut for the Grecians at Brentford on the opening day of the 1928/29 season when he netted the first of the eight goals he would score during his first campaign..
In 1929/30 he added a further 11 strikes in 29 starts before playing a major part in the City side that reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup during a 1930/31 season in which he scored 23 goals from 42 league starts (plus four more in the FA Cup). Such form meant he was selected for the Football Association team that toured Canada in 1931 and, encouraged by this, he followed up with 16 goals in 1931/32 and another 13 in 1932/33.
Scoring on another eight occasions to take his total for the club to 79 - a club-record that remained until eventually being surpassed by Graham Rees in 1964 - he was sold to Norwich City in March 1934 after months of speculation linking him to various clubs.
Ironically making his Norwich debut against Exeter, he went on to feature in around fifty league games before moving to Bristol Rovers in November 1935 ahead of eventually returning to Merseyside to play for South Liverpool.
Harold ‘Happy’ Houghton died in Liverpool on 3 February 1986 aged seventy-nine.
|Item: Scrapbook | 1931 to 1935||Relation||This Item|