Former PFA man Harry Hough dies, aged 94

Harry Hough

All at the PFA are saddened to learn of the passing of former Barnsley goalkeeper and PFA Management Committee member Harry Hough.

Harry Hough is cited on Barnsley’s website as probably the greatest goalkeeper in the club’s history.

A miner during the war, he joined the Reds in 1947 but played understudy for the first four years of his time at Oakwell, however, from there on in, Hough was ever-present for the next eight years.

Hough played 364 times for the Yorkshire club and from 1953 to 1956 he started a run of 166 consecutive matches, a club record at the time.

Barnsley’s website describes him as “Mr Consistent” stating “he had steady hands, great positional sense, came well for crosses and as well as taking a mean kick he was somewhat of an expert penalty saver.”

During the latter stages of his career, Hough was a member of the PFA Management Committee, his service coinciding with a critical time in the PFA’s history.

PFA Meeting - Wages and Contracts Dispute
Photo, 14th Nov 1960: PFA Meeting, wages and contracts dispute - Great Eastern Hotel, London. PFA representatives Harry Leyland and Harry Hough wait for the meeting to begin as Chairman Jimmy Hill takes the microphone and Secretary Cliff Lloyd checks his watch.

In 1960, Newcastle United refused to grant George Eastham a transfer. When the Football League declined to help Eastham, the PFA led by Chairman Jimmy Hill and Secretary Cliff Lloyd, decided to challenge the Retain and Transfer system in a court of law for the first time in 50 years.

During his time at Barnsley, Hough had himself suffered financial disappointment, when club chairman Joe Richards (who was also League president) blocked a proposed transfer to Walsall, telling the goalkeeper: “You’ll go where I tell you.”

Hough had claimed that this cost him nearly £1,200 which the Walsall deal would have guaranteed him.

In 1961, PFA Chairman Jimmy Hill, backed by a 100 per cent strike ballot, threatened to bring the game to a complete halt.

Under intense pressure, the Football League eventually conceded where the maximum wage was concerned, and for the first time since the 19th Century, players were free to earn whatever their clubs are prepared to pay them.

Historian John Harding described Hough as an active, outspoken and determined committee member who was on good personal terms with PFA Secretary Cliff Lloyd.

All at the PFA send our thoughts and condolences to Harry’s family and friends. We would like to pay tribute to him as a person, player and a great contributor to the union and football.