Photo: El Loko

A resolute and wholehearted leader for club and country, Steph Houghton was influential in Manchester City’s rise to the top of the women’s game, and was similarly crucial during her 14-year international career with the Lionesses.

Born and bred in County Durham, Steph first caught the eye at Boldon CA, much like future City and Lionesses teammate Jill Scott. Houghton joined Sunderland’s Centre for Excellence as a young girl, but was featuring for the Black Cats’ first team by the age of 17.

A versatile, all-action player who provided quality in defence and midfield, Steph won a move to Leeds Carnegie in 2007, earning a Women’s Premier League Cup winner’s medal three years later, before joining Vic Akers’ dominant Arsenal side.

During her three-and-a-half-year stint at Meadow Park, Houghton won back-to-back WSL titles, two Women’s FA Cups and three Continental Cups. Now 25 years old and an increasingly important player for the Lionesses, Steph headed back up north to be part of Manchester City’s bold project, and was immediately installed as skipper.

Photo: Ailura

The centre-half lifted her first City silverware in her first season: the first of her four WSL Cup triumphs in sky blue colours. In 2016, she was part of a watertight defence that conceded just four goals in an entire WSL campaign en route to the title, and also added another three Women’s FA Cup medals to her collection.

Houghton was named England captain for the first time by Mark Sampson in 2014, retaining the armband until 2021. She became one of the select few women to reach centurion status for England, earning her 100th cap in 2018. By the time she hung up her boots, Steph had made 121 appearances for the national side, as well as top-scoring from the left-back position for Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games.

An inspirational figure and leader by example, Steph is one of the most respected and successful defenders of a generation.

Principal clubs: Sunderland, Leeds Carnegie, Arsenal, Manchester City

International caps: 121 (13 goals)

Inducted: 2024

Steph Houghton

A dependable defender and resolute leader for club and country.

Jack Greenwell

From a mining town in County Durham to Barcelona’s longest-serving manager.

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