Bob Houghton

Bob Houghton

Infobox Football biography
playername = Bobby Houghton

fullname = Robert Houghton
nickname =
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1947|10|13|df=y
cityofbirth =
countryofbirth = England
currentclub = India (head coach)
years = 1966–1969
clubs = fc|Fulham
fc|Brighton & Hove Albion
Hastings United
fc|Maidstone United
caps(goals) = ? (?)
? (?)
? (?)
? (?)
manageryears = 1970–1971
managerclubs = Hastings United
fc|Maidstone United
Malmö FF
Ethnikos Piraeus
fc|Bristol City
Toronto Blizzard
Örgryte IS
Malmö FF
FC Zürich
Colorado Rapids
pcupdate =

Robert Douglas Houghton (born 13 October 1947), commonly known as either Bob Houghton or Bobby Houghton, is an English football manager and former player, currently the head coach of the Indian national team. His career has spanned over 30 years and 10 different countries.


Early career

During his brief playing career, Houghton was a midfielder for Fulham (1966–69) and Brighton & Hove Albion (1969–70). Houghton was one of the youngest coaches ever to manage in English senior football, being appointed player manager of Hastings United in the Southern League at only 21. In the early 1970s he also managed fc|Maidstone United and worked as an assistant to Bobby Robson at fc|Ipswich Town. [ [ Houghtonthe new troubleshooter for the Blizzard] , Soccer Illustrated Magazine.]

Malmö FF

He became the manager of Swedish top flight side Malmö FF in 1974. Then a provincal, amateur side, he guided them to success domestically and internationally, reaching the European Cup final against fc|Nottingham Forest in 1979, narrowly losing 1–0. The team was all based on local players who came from within 60km from Malmö. It was the first and so far only time a Swedish team has reached the European Cup final.

He also won the Swedish championship and Svenska Cupen several times and was runner-up in the Intercontinental Cup in 1979 (Nottingham Forest had declined to participate). Along with close friend Roy Hodgson he is widely regarded as being responsible for the transformation of Swedish football into a relative modern power. [ [,,1800194,00.html Lagerback faces familiar foes] , The Guardian, 18 June 2006.]

1980s and 90s

After a short spell in Greece with Ethnikos Piraeus, Houghton returned to his homeland in 1980 to manage fc|Bristol City. His spell at Ashton Gate was unsuccessful as the financially stricken club were relegated and Houghton resigned after a defeat to fc|Wimbledon. Houghton's next job was with North American Soccer League side Toronto Blizzard between 1982 and 1984. He then managed in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad before returing to Sweden at Örgryte IS and Malmö again. After another spell with Al-Ittihad in 1993, he joined Swiss side FC Zürich in April 1994 and remained in charge for just over a year before leaving in March 1995. In 1996 he became the first ever coach of Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids before being sacked after just one season.

International management


Houghton then assumed control of the Chinese national team in late 1997, who had just failed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup. Within weeks, Houghton was able to memorise the names of all his players, a rare feat in foreign coaches, and helped build the team's confidence and self-belief. China were placed second in the Dynasty Cup very shortly after Houghton took over, and he developed a reputation for being able to implement an effective technical football program for struggling teams. They also attained a bronze medal at the 1998 Asian Games. After failing to qualify for the 2000 Olympic football tournament, Houghton left as manager of the Chinese national team in 1999. He later had several spells as a club manager in China and was also a coaching instructor.


He had a spell in charge of Uzbekistan in 2005 when he was charged with qualifying for the 2006 World Cup though his attempt failed after losing a controversial play-off tie against Bahrain. Uzbekistan won the first match 1–0 but FIFA declared the result void after a refereeing mistake, and Uzbekistan were eliminated on the away goals rule.


Houghton was then appointed head coach of India in June 2006 by the All India Football Federation. His appointment saw a general progress in India's performances [ [ Valiant India go down to Syria] , Rediff News, 23 August 2007.] crowned by victory in the Nehru Cup in August 2007. But India suffered a huge loss when Maldives defeated them at the final of SAFF Championship 2008. However, Houghton led India to the AFC Challenge Cup title as they beat Tajikistan 4-1 in August 2008.


External links

* [ All India Football Federation profile of Houghton]

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