Whatever happened to Keith Houchen?

Unless you’re a Coventry City fan the name ‘Keith Houchen’ may well be unfamiliar to you. In case you were wondering, he scored the Sky Blues’ second goal against a much fancied Spurs team with a fantastic diving header in the FA Cup Final of 1987. Coventry won the game 3-2 after Gary Mabbutt’s extra-time own-goal, but it was Houchen’s header that won Match of the Day’s 1987 Goal of the Season and is considered one of Wembley’s greatest ever goals. But where is Keith Houchen now?

Houchen played for Hartlepool, Leyton Orient, York and Scunthorpe before he joined Coventry where he remained for three years. As well as being a part of the jubilant Coventry City team of 1987, he was also playing for the Sky Blues when they were humbled two years later against non-league Sutton United.

Despite finding the net four times in Coventry’s FA Cup run that year, Houchen only scored seven league goals in over 50 games and in 1989 he secured a move to Scottish Premier League side Hibernian. After two years in Scotland he moved to Port Vale before going full circle and ending his career with Hartlepool United, the club that he started his career with 15 years earlier.

Whilst at Hartlepool, Houchen was appointed player manager for the last year and a half of his career and he retired from football in 1996.


Following his retirement, Houchen began media work in the North East and could often be heard commentating on games at York City, the place where he scored a winning FA Cup penalty against Arsenal.

In 2006 a biography was written about Keith Houchen’s career entitled ‘A Tenner and Box of Kippers’. In the book, Houchen reveals one of his biggest regrets from the day in 1987: “I’m disappointed now that I never got to hold the FA Cup. Everyone holds the Cup these days, then it was only the first three or four. I would have loved to have got hold of the FA Cup and held it up like Brian ‘Killer’ Kilcline did. I would have loved to have done that once, just to have a picture — I’ve not got a picture of me holding the Cup”.

Houchen was given a place in the FA’s Parade of Legends in 2007 prior to the new Wembley’s first FA Cup Final.

Watch Houchen’s career defining diving header by clicking on the link below:

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