UK time is: 18:52:22
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

A Tenner and a Box of Kippers

Approaching the 20th anniversary of the most famous day in Coventry City's history, Jonathan Strange, chairman of the Sky Blues London Supporters' Club and the author of 'Coventry City FC: A History in 50 Matches', has published a new book detailing the life in football of Keith Houchen, one of the heroes of that day at Wembley.

A Tenner and a Box of Kippers takes its name from a transfer fee reportedly once paid by Hartlepool United for a player and sums up the realities of life in the lower divisions of the game.

Hartlepool was where Houchen began and ended his career, which for the most part was spent outside the top-flight.

His main claim to fame before 1987 was as the man who knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup while with York City two years previously, slotting home a penalty to send the North London giants out of the competition.

After a short spell at Scunthorpe came the transfer to Coventry City and the chance to shine in the 1st Division as was.

Unlike today such a move did not secure Keith's financial future and the book contains some surprising details about how little one of the heroes of that FA Cup run actually earned from it.

His goals in the cup run aside, John Sillett never seemed too convinced by Houchen, and as the Wembley side was gradually broken up a couple of years later he joined Hibernian, then Port Vale before returning to Hartlepool, firstly as a player then taking on the thankless task of managing a club who at the time almost seemed doomed to struggle in the lower leagues.

Thankfully the book is not merely a ghost-written autobiography, the type of which is filling up the shelves at present.

The story of Keith's career and also of the clubs he played for and the towns he played in are told by the author, with Houchen himself providing memories and anecdotes.

Letters from fans, both complimentary and abusive (a decision to release a young left-back while manager at Hartlepool sees missives sent to the ground addressed to 'Adolf Houchen') provide another unusual viewpoint of the average footballer's life.

Houchen remains involved in football, working for the Press Association and doing some coaching in schools and for his hometown club Middlesbrough.

He also a life outside the game though and perhaps the most extraordinary thing about his story is his ordinariness. This is not a player who earned unbelievable sums of money from the game, nor is it someone who ended up on skid row after they had finished playing.

It is the tale of the majority of footballers, even today perhaps outside of the Premiership, set apart of course by that never to be forgotten day at Wembley.

- A Tenner and a Box of Kippers is out now at booksellers, published by Stadia, an imprint of Tempus Publishing Limited. Visit www.tempus-publishing.com




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: CCFC Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday November 30 2006

Time: 10:37PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Sounds good. Hopefully the club will do something to mark the 20th anniversary next year.
CET Stander
Report Abuse
30/11/2006 22:50:00

Whateer happened to John Sillett he was Captian at Plymouth for a while when I first started watching them.
miked_joker
Report Abuse
30/11/2006 23:41:00

He managed Hereford for a while after leaving Cov then retired. Owns a few racehorses now as far as I know.
CET Stander
Report Abuse
01/12/2006 09:32:00

never ever forget the goal and the day and the photograph....
roberts
Report Abuse
01/12/2006 15:20:00

at the club shop on Saturday plenty of supporters were buying the book, everyone queing and waiting to pay seemed to have a copy.
roberts
Report Abuse
03/12/2006 14:23:00

 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Coventry City Articles

City's Problems Extend To Under-21's (Monday January 26 2015)

A Big Week for the Sky Blues (Monday January 26 2015)

Another Starting Point for Sky Blues (Saturday January 24 2015)

Stats: Yeovil Town v Coventry City (Saturday January 24 2015)

City Players Urged To Prove 'Em Wrong (Friday January 23 2015)

City Confirm Goalkeeper Signing (Thursday January 22 2015)

Yeovil Town v Coventry City (Thursday January 22 2015)

City Working Hard To Improve Crowds (Wednesday January 21 2015)

CCFC: Next Opponents in Midweek Action (Tuesday January 20 2015)

Archived Coventry City Articles

List All Vital Coventry Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. houchen 18

League Results (view all)

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
14. Doncaster 24 9 7 8 -3 34
15. Walsall 26 8 9 9 -2 33
16. Gillingham 27 8 7 12 -8 31
17. Coventry 27 7 9 11 -10 30
18. Barnsley 25 8 5 12 -4 29
19. Scunthorpe 23 8 5 10 -7 29
20. Crewe 26 8 5 13 -19 29

Breaking League News

Woods And Team Confident Of Turnaround
Preston : 27/01/2015 18:49:00
Defender leaves Crewe
Crewe : 27/01/2015 17:04:00
Davis to step up search
Crewe : 27/01/2015 17:00:00
Walsall Boss Aims To Kill Off Preston.
Preston : 27/01/2015 16:33:00
Striker blow for Alex
Crewe : 27/01/2015 14:54:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Should City Sign a Keeper in January?
Suggested By:  Editor
Yes - As First Choice 57%
Yes - As Back-Up 20%
No - Stick With Allsop/Burge 23%