Through the years – SK’s Steph Houghton MBE tribute

(Natalie Mincher/SPP)

Our latest issue of the magazine included a tribute to Steph Houghton MBE. Here it is for you to enjoy in online, extended form!


(Words by @chris_brookes) Since the announcement on 27th March that Steph Houghton MBE will retire at the end of this season, the tributes have flooded in for the long-time former Lionesses captain and Manchester City Women’s most successful player.

The centre-back was at the heart of those England teams that made giant strides towards the platform upon which they stand today. Playing at five major competitions with England, plus two Olympic tournaments with Team GB, her farewell also means one of the last WSL originals exiting the stage.

It might not figure at the top of her career achievements (it’s an outrage!), but Steph has also featured often in She Kicks through the years, gracing multiple covers. Back before making her name as an elite defender, the Sunderland youngster was a striker (and a teammate of SK’s own North East legend, Jen O’Neill!).

In her summer as an Olympic goal machine, it was Steph who stepped up with the match-winning moment for GB against Brazil at London 2012, with 70,584 in the crowd and millions more watching on, when women’s football at Wembley was every bit a novelty. The sport has long since emerged from the shadows, and Steph Houghton sits alongside the greatest of those to have brought it this far.

Here’s to the 121 international caps and 13 goals, the ambassadorial efforts off the pitch, the free-kicks and saving challenges, that bronze medal in Edmonton in 2015, and the three WSL titles among 16 domestic trophies (and just maybe…one more?).


The match-winning goalscorer celebrates GB’s victory over Brazil at Wembley in 2012’s Olympic tournament. (Gavin Ellis/SHEKICKS/TGSPHOTO)


(Richard Heathcote – The FA via Getty Images)


Left to right: England’s Rachel Yankey, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Steph Houghton and Alex Scott celebrate winning the 2013 Cyprus Cup. (Lorraine Hill)


SK Issue 22, July 2014


Celebrating an England goal with Rachel Williams in a EURO 2013 qualifying win over Slovenia in Swindon, September 2011. (Action Images / Jed Leicester)


Mobbed by Kelly Smith, Eni Aluko and Ifeoma Dieke after scoring GB’s first goal at the 2012 Olympics, v New Zealand in Cardiff. (Gavin Ellis/SHEKICKS/TGSPHOTO)


With Katie Chapman (and Japanese food!) on Arsenal’s visit to Kyoto in 2011. (Arsenal Football Club / David Price)


Lifting the Conti Cup again, with Man City teammate Ellen White after beating Chelsea in March 2022. (Claire Jeffrey/SPP)


SK Issue 29, August 2015


In FA Cup semi-final action for Leeds against Everton, at Southport in 2008. (The FA / Action Images / Paul Harding)


FA Senior Women’s Player of the Year in 2013. (The FA via Getty Images)


Hitching a ride in Le Havre on Lionesses teammate Karen Bardsley after the quarter-final win over Norway in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. (Richard Callis/Fotoarena)


FA Cup winner with Arsenal in Doncaster, in 2013. (Tony Marshall – The FA via Getty Images)


FA Goal of the Year winner (Arsenal v Lincoln Ladies), in November 2013. (Tom Dulat – The FA via Getty Images)


In action against the United States at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. (Daniela Porcelli/SPP)


With Arsenal teammate Jordan Nobbs at the Emirates Stadium in 2010. (David Price / Arsenal Football Club)


Celebrating Lauren Hemp’s goal for Man City against Arsenal in the Barclays WSL this past weekend. (Natalie Mincher/SPP)

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