Born: 17 May 1889, Ballymena
Representative Honours: Ireland: 6 Full Caps (1912-1914); Irish League: 2 Caps (1912).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish Cup Winner 1911/12 (walkover), 1915/16.
Clubs............ --Seasons-- Signed League FACup
South End Olympic (Ballymena)
Everton.......... 12/13-14/15 Feb-13 .26/ 2 .2/ 0
Linfield......... 15/16-18/19 Mar-15
Ulster Rangers .............. Sep-19
Partick Thistle.. 19/20.......Sep-19 .17/ 1
John Houston made a big impact on the Irish League scene during 1912. He not only played in Linfield’s march to the Irish Cup semi-final (from whence they were awarded the trophy following the resignation from the Irish FA of the three other remaining teams, Cliftonville, Glentoran and Shelbourne), he also won Inter-League honours against the Football League and Scottish League, and his first two caps for Ireland.
Shortly after winning his third cap, Houston joined Everton, making his Football League debut at centre-forward in a 2-0 defeat by Liverpool at Goodison Park on 8th February 1913. More normally an outside-right - indeed that’s where he played in all six of his international appearances - Houston had to wait eight months, until a 4-1 defeat at Sheffield United, for his first Everton goal. Having dropped out of the firstteam reckoning, Houston made just one appearance during the 1914/15 season, in a 3-0 home win over Newcastle on 2nd January, before returning to Linfield in March.
During the Great War Houston joined the Royal Irish Rifles, attaining the rank of Sergeant (see additional comments below). He was following in the footsteps of his brother, Leslie, who was killed in action. Houston was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry during the conflict, and also continued to turn-out for Linfield through the War-years. In 1916 he played in the 1-0 Irish Cup Final replay victory over Glentoran, giving him a ‘proper’ winner’s medal.
After the War Houston spent a season with Partick Thistle in the Scottish First Division. He made his Jags debut in a 3-1 Glasgow Cup win at Clyde on 16th September 1919, scoring his only League goal against the same opposition thirteen days later, as Partick lost 3-1 in a match played at Celtic Park. Houston made his final appearnce for Partick against Ayr United, finishing on the end of a 3-0 reverse on 28th April 1920.
|(click to enlarge)|
16-03-1912 Scotland H L 1-4 BC
13-04-1912 Wales... A W 3-2 BC
18-01-1913 Wales... H L 0-1 BC
15-02-1913 England. H W 2-1 BC
15-03-1913 Scotland H L 1-2 BC
14-03-1914 Scotland H D 1-1 BC
Summary: 6/0. Won 2, Drew 1, Lost 3.
With thanks to stuthejag from OWC Forum for the info on Houston's time at Partick, to the_red_warrior from the ILF for the newspaper scan, and to Martin O'Connor for some career details.