Republic of Ireland legend Ray Houghton enjoyed a glittering international career, with his two greatest moments on that stage coming as he scored the decisive goal in the 1-0 win against England at the 1988 European Championships, before a repeat of the same situation and scoreline against Italy at the 1994 World Cup in America.
The midfielder was also a big part of the famous successful Liverpool team from the late 1980s and early 90s, winning the First Division and the FA Cup twice each between 1988 and 1992, before moving onto Aston Villa and lifting the League Cup in 1994.
Now retired, Houghton is set to swap the hallowed turf for a fishing rod to take part in an exciting new fishing programme called Angling Outlaws, which is to be shown on BT Sport next year.
We spoke exclusively to the football legend about a number of different subjects within the beautiful game…
“I think at the moment they’re probably doing their due diligence, which is probably the right thing to do, make sure you get the right person in because Rangers have already won the title. And I think people are getting a little bit panicky, because the Celtic fans want to see big names wanting to come to their club.
“I’m a Celtic fan. I grew up a Celtic fan. I don’t look at it as much as I once did. But yeah, there’s no doubt, you know, with Rangers doing as well as they are and Steven Gerrard, a big name in charge, Celtic feel that they could do likewise. And there’s been quite some names in the frame, Thierry Henry, Roy Keane, you know, amongst others. So, it will be interesting to see who they go for.”
“Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think in many respects, as I said earlier, it’s about reinventing yourself, it may be a good place for Eddie. Just to go and because your only real opposition is Rangers, you get into Europe and you’ve done well, you know, the fans will enjoy that give a decent run.
“But your main priority is to finish first in the league. And they just need someone to take them forward again, hopefully the owners invest money in the club. I think that’s one of the stipulations that a big manager coming in would have, they’ve got you have the finances to take the club forward.”
“I really don’t know. They’ve had Pochettino who got them to a Champions League Final – the only time they’ve ever been in the Champions League Final. Tottenham is a huge job, it’s a massive club, they’ve got a fantastic stadium, they’ve got training facilities to die for, but I just don’t see them getting the funds and I don’t know if the owner Joe Lewis puts in anywhere near what other clubs do, or he’s prepared to go into debt or get loans to bring in players.
“There’s no doubt Pochettino and Mourinho are massive names, and whether they can have that calibre of manager again if the finances aren’t there, I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see who Daniel Levy, who looks like he’s the main man at the club when it comes to the appointments, has got in mind. He thought Mourinho with his CV was going to be the game changer as far as bringing trophies to the club, and that didn’t happen.”
“Well, I think with Steven he’s learning. Look what happened to Frank Lampard. Frank went to Derby and had a good season. And then suddenly, the Chelsea job came up, and of course, he’s going to jump at it. You know, you might not get that offered that again. Was it too early?
“So, with Steve, he probably feels he’s still got a little bit of work to do in the managerial side. Every year he’s doing work as a manager, he’s learning about players and with all due respect to Rangers and the players that they’ve got, going to Spurs or Liverpool is a whole new level of expectation.”
“If it was purely just only football that might be the case. But don’t forget David Moyes was at West Ham when they let him go. So, loyalty works two ways. The club weren’t very loyal to him, were they?”
“I think there were rumours of going after Werner before he went to Chelsea, but there are not an awful lot of strikers around. Harry Kane would be great because he’s like your finished article up front. I don’t know what the finances are like, all I know is that over the last few years recruitments been very good.
“Last season it’s really slowed, we brought in the lad from Preston was in for £400,000, we brought we brought in the other centre-back for Germany – that’s not Liverpool’s way. They buy the best. They did that with Salah, Mane, Allison, and Van Dijk.”
Ray Houghton will be joining Paul Parker, Tony Gale and Frank McAvennie on BT Sport’s Angling Outlaws, next summer.
With the help of Outlaw Pro, the four former pros will be trying their hand at fishing, with the quadruplet facing off at the end of the six-part series to see who knows their slide tackles from their tackle boxes.