Davie Houston's memories


Davie was a versatile player who was a star of the Margate side for many years during the 1960's and 1970's...

What is your full name and date and place of birth ?
David Houston - 7th July 1948 - Glasgow.

What is your marital Status?
Married to Ann since 1971 (during my Margate days).

Do you have children ?
Craig (aged 22 years) and Leah (aged 18 years).

Did / do any of your family play football ?
No - but my son took an interest in Liverpool FC at one time and my daughter is a fervent Newcastle United and Wales fan.

Where do you live now ?
Bryncoch, Neath in Wales.

What is your occupation now ?
Civil Servant -clerk in DVLA, Swansea.

What was your occupation during your time with Margate ?
Civil Servant - Post Office in London, then Canterbury after moving to live in Margate. Transferred to Margate County Court in 1971.

How did you come to join Margate ?
On a free transfer from Crystal Palace FC. I believe Margate wanted a full back at the time and it was thought Dai Yorath would want to return to Wales from Palace. Margate invited us both down for the day and signed us both.

What do you remember about your Margate debut ?
What a wonderful playing surface Hartsdown Park was and what an attacking team I had joined - I loved it.

What were the highlights of your Margate career ?
The three games I remember most are:-

1. v Tottenham in the FA Cup - although we lost 6-0 it was only 1-0 at half time and they had an almighty rollicking from Eddie Bailey. We were kicking down the slope second half but they were terrific. A great day for the club and the town.

2. v Ramsgate in the Southern League Cup Final 1968. They were from a lower division and had done well to make the Final. It was a two-legged affair and after two disappointing draws the decider at Hartsdown was a cracker. Three full houses - it was great.

3. v West Ham - Almer Hall testimonial. Drew 6-6 and I scored five.

What were the highlights of your entire career ?
My years at Margate were the happiest but I'll never forget playing in Toulon in a benefit match for Cardiff and making my first team debut at Bolton Wanderers in October 1965.

Who was the best player you played with at Margate ?
The three I remember as special were:-

Bob Harrop - the best centre half (remember them ?) I ever played with.

Tommy Jenkins - two great feet and skill to burn.

Eddie Clayton - a terrific passer of the ball with great control.

Who was the best player you played against whilst with Margate ?
Martin Chivers for Tottenham in the FA Cup was awesome.

Who was the best player you played with during your whole career ?
Apart from John Charles and Ivor Allchurch who were in the twilights of their wonderful careers at Cardiff, the one who stands out most was Barrie Hole. He went on to Blackburn and Aston Villa and was a regular Welsh international. And of course there was a young John Toshack.

Who was the best player you played against during your whole career ?
The biggest chasing I ever had was playing for Cardiff Reserves at The Dell against Southampton Reserves. I marked a tall, gangly bloke called Channon - what a player !!

Who was / were your best friend(s) during your time with Margate ?
My best pal was Dai Yorath. We had joined Cardiff in 1963 as 15 year-olds and moved to Palace together then on to Margate. He's a great bloke and was a good player. Dave Paton joined us when he moved down but I like to think they were all good pals. Kevin Barry is one I see most often nowadays.

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old Margate team-mates ?
I still exchange Christmas cards with Dai Yorath and I've also kept in touch with Kevin Barry.

What was the best stadium you played in during your entire career ?
Highbury - no question.

What ground(s) did you most enjoy playing at during your time at Margate ?
Hartsdown - best pitch in the league bar none.

Southwood (Ramsgate) - I loved the 'derby' atmosphere.

Hereford and Chelmsford were the top notchers most of the time and I relished the challenges going there.

And which ground(s) did you least like ?
Weymouth - always boggy and a long way home if you lost.

Who was the best manager you played under (and at which club) ?
Almer Hall - a lovely man who wanted football to be enjoyable for the players and spectators alike. He would rather lose 4-3 in a cracker than win 1-0 in boredom.

Who was the biggest influence on your football career ?
My father always encouraged me and came to watch when I was in Cardiff's first team and playing in the North of England. Les Riggs kept me fairly fit when he took Margate over.

What was your favourite / best Margate goal?
My favourite was our second at Kettering in the Southern League Cup semi-final. It was a delicate swerving free-kick round the wall (a technique now advanced by Mr Beckham). The goal v Dartford was a bit special too !

What was the best goal you saw another Margate player score ?
Bruce Walker scored some spectaculars and Barry Brown lots of important ones but the one I remember was by Bryan Clifton at Hartsdown, the only goal v Brentwood. He took a pass from behind in his stride and hit it from 25 yards. It hardly rose a foot off the ground and went like a rocket.

Do you keep an eye on Margate's progress / results and if so what do you think ?
Yes, of course, and they are doing well. I'll be interested to see what happens when they return to Hartsdown, will the famous slope still be there ?

Did you have a nickname during your career / time at Margate?

What honours did you win during your career ?
All with Margate:-

Southern League Cup Winners
Southern League Championship Match (the following season v league winners Chelmsford)
Kent Senior Cup
Kent Floodlight Cup

Do you ever watch Margate now or if not, when was the last time you saw them ?
v Fulham (Kevin Keegan's team) FA Cup 1st Round Proper. It was the furthest Margate had got since we played Tottenham all those years ago and a bit of a reunion was arranged. Although Margate lost 2-1 they played well - a great weekend.

Who were the real characters at Margate during your time with the club ?
John Baber was always good for a laugh, as was John Hold. Then there was Graham 'Tom' Sawyer and Norman 'Noz' Fusco - great bunch of blokes.

Can you recall any funny moments from your time at Margate ?
Playing on Boxing Day v Maidstone at home one of the players turned up with his party hat still on and his kazoo in his mouth. Mr Riggs promptly turned him round and sent him home.

Do you have any regrets about your football career ?
I wish it had been now and I knew what I do now ! I thoroughly enjoyed my relatively short professional career but I kept playing till almost 40. I met lots of people through football and only two or three of them weren't great blokes.

What do you think about being featured on a website or the fact that a Margate History site exists ?!
A lovely surprise personally and a very good idea.

You may have guessed it already but the seven years I spent at Margate were the happiest of my professional playing days. The club was run by and supported by some really lovely people and I'm sure I much preferred that to any win at all costs 'professionalism' that seems to apply today.

Added to the site in 2003.