Cliff Holton, born 29 April 1929.

Clifford Charles Holton known universally as Cliff was born on 29 April 1929 and died on  4 June 1996.  Only 14 players in the entire history of the Football League have surpassed his career total of 293 league and cup goals, scored for Arsenal, Watford, Northampton, Crystal Palace, Charlton and Orient.   Only Arthur Rowley, Jimmy Greaves, John Atyeo and John Aldridge, all of whom, unlike Cliff Holton, were centre forwards all their playing careers,  have scored more League goals since the war.

He joined Arsenal from Oxford City in October 1947, initially as a full back but by the time he made the first team in 1950 as a centre forward.  His first game was on Boxing Day 1950, and was in the first team for our second post-war Cup Final in 1952.

He was also a major player in the First Division title win in 1953 where he began to earn the reputation of being a larger than life character.  After that though his role within the club changed and he started to play in whatever position he was needed in.

Cliff moved on to Watford in the fourth division in October 1958 and played there for three seasons becoming something of a cult figure.  But then he moved on (much to the disgust of most Watford supporters) to Northampton Town, becoming the highest ever scorer in one season for the club.

He kept on moving: Palace, Charlton, Watford again, and Orient, until in 1968 he moved into engineering.

Graham Taylor who was with Watford when Cliff Holton died, is quoted as saying, on hearing the news of Holton’s death, that “He looked younger [ than his 67 years], fitter and there was so much to him: like you say, an aura, a presence.”

There is a recording incorporating Cliff playing for Arsenal against Aston Villa.


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