Steph Houghton inducted into the Hall of Fame

Manchester City and Lionesses icon Steph Houghton MBE has entered the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame.

Steph was inducted during ‘An Afternoon with Steph Houghton’ at the Etihad Stadium. The intimate event celebrated the many highs of Houghton’s career and brought fans closer to the legendary defender. All money raised from the event will also be going toward CITC and the Darby Rimmer Foundation.

Houghton was inducted for her huge impact on the women’s game at domestic and international level, and her monumental influence on the growth of the game in this country. 

Upon the news, Houghton said: “I am honoured to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame so soon after announcing my retirement from football. It is a prestigious list, with less than 200 players, managers and teams inducted so I am very humbled.

“I share the recognition with my teammates, managers, coaches, club support staff and family, who have all contributed so much to my career and without them then I wouldn’t have achieved the success and enjoyment that I had in football.” 

Born in County Durham, Houghton’s professional career began in the North-East at childhood club Sunderland. The young defender spent five years at the club and helped the Black Cats achieve promotion from the Northern Division in 2005, going on to win Young Player of the Season the following year.  

Houghton would then move on to Leeds Carnegie in 2007 and lift the Women’s Premier League Cup with them in her final year at the club in 2010. The silverware continued to flow for Houghton after signing for Arsenal, collecting two WSL trophies, two Women’s FA Cups and three FA WSL Cups in her three-year spell with the Gunners.  

The last chapter in Houghton’s domestic career would be one that spanned another decade at the top level, playing and captaining Manchester City between 2014 and 2024, amassing over 240 caps in that time. Houghton retires as City’s highest capped and most decorated player, with eight titles to her name, featuring in the Barclays WSL Team of the Year on two occasions. 

Her leadership qualities carried through into the national team where she would collect 121 caps for England across 14 years, captaining the Lionesses to third place in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. This tournament served as a ground-breaking moment for women’s football in the UK and undoubtedly catapulted the growth of the game. Houghton was also one of the first wave of players to be given a central contract by The FA.

Tim Desmond, CEO of the National Football Museum said: “Steph’s induction to the National Football Museum Hall of Fame is a testament to not only her career in football, but how she has carried herself through it. A leader on the pitch and a leading example for those she inspired along the way. She’s been at the heart of some of the most poignant and important moments in the growth of women’s football in this country, and despite setbacks along the way, has left an indelible mark on the game.”

In 2019, the National Football Museum relaunched the Hall of Fame with a commitment to achieve 50% female representation across the game and celebrating legacies such as Steph’s is something we pride ourselves on and feel very honoured to be a part of.”