When Steph Houghton signed for Manchester City on New Year’s Day in 2014, the defender likely had no idea what awaited her. Seven years and 200 appearances later, Houghton is regarded as one of the most successful players in the Women’s Super League.
The No.6 joined Manchester City at a time when the English league was a shadow of what it would later become. The signing proved the ambitions the club held for the team with Houghton having already tasted success with league rivals Arsenal. Since then, Manchester City have gone on to become one of the giants of the women’s game in the league with their sights firmly set on European dominance.
During Houghton’s seven years with the club, the team have won seven pieces of silverware. The defender has led her team to three FA Cups, three Continental Cups and the WSL league title in 2016. With the Sky Blues having reached the Champion’s League semi finals in 2017 and 2018, the skipper will be hoping this could finally be her team’s year.Embed from Getty Images
The match against Everton on Sunday saw Houghton become the first female player to reach 200 appearances across all competitions for a single club.
This is not the first record the No.6 has broken. In January 2018, the centre back became the first female to reach a century of appearances. In January 2021, Houghton once again wrote her name in the history books by becoming the first player to make 150 WSL appearances.
During her 200-game run, the Sky Blues have won 148 games with 104 clean sheets. City’s excellent defensive record is in no small part due to their captain’s unfaltering presence in the back line.
Houghton has proven herself to be more than just a defensive asset. With 18 goals, 13 of which have been the free kicks, she has become a specialist in the skipper role and has shown herself to be a threat at the top of the pitch as well as the back.Embed from Getty Images
During her time in Manchester, Houghton has played with some of the world’s best players. From those collecting major accolades like Lucy Bronze to new players entering the game, Houghton has made an impact on all those she’s shared a pitch with. In the defender, young players have someone to look up to. Her dedication to her team is an example to all those aspiring to play.
With Houghton breaking records and establishing herself time and time again as one of the greats of the game, it’s hard to imagine this will be the last record she will achieve. Her passion on and off the pitch added to the commitment to her team has ensured Houghton will no doubt be remembered as one of the legends of Manchester City.