Coventry City - A Tenner and a Box of Kippers
UK time is: 19:36:32
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

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.
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....
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.
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 Boss: We Need To Be Clinical (Friday October 2 2015)

Sky Blues Seek Home Comforts (Thursday October 1 2015)

Options Aplenty For Sky Blues Boss (Wednesday September 30 2015)

Lameiras Has Time To Make An Impact (Tuesday September 29 2015)

Night Off For Sky Blues (Tuesday September 29 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 3

League Results (view all)

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
2. Walsall 11 6 4 1 10 22
3. Bury 11 6 4 1 6 22
4. Gillingham 11 6 3 2 10 21
5. Coventry 10 6 1 3 9 19
6. Rochdale 11 5 2 4 3 17
7. Sheff Utd 11 5 2 4 2 17
8. Port Vale 11 4 4 3 2 16

Coventry City Fixtures (view all)

Breaking League News

DRFC York City v Doncaster Rovers Line-Ups
Doncaster : 06/10/2015 18:51:00
Audio - Pressley Appointed
Fleetwood : 06/10/2015 18:44:01
Pressley Appointment Confirmed
Fleetwood : 06/10/2015 18:27:00
Foxes To Snare Henry?
Peterborough : 06/10/2015 18:04:00
Crewe turn to Trophy
Crewe : 06/10/2015 17:05:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Which 'New' Away Game Are You Looking Forward To?
Suggested By:  Editor
Blackpool 23%
Burton Albion 37%
Bury 4%
Millwall 15%
Shrewsbury Town 4%
Southend United 4%
Wigan Athletic 13%