In the 1880-81 season Aston Villa won 21 of their 25 games. They also won the Staffordshire Cup that year. Tony Matthews claims in his book, Who's Who of Aston Villa that Vaughton "... could be erratic with his shooting but made up for that with his superb ball-skills". The Villa News reported that Vaughton was "one of Archie Hunter's pet pupils... he dribbled like an angel, and shot like a demon."
On 18th February, 1882, Howard Vaughton and Arthur Brown became the first two Aston Villa players to play for their country. Also in the team that day was Doc Greenwood and Fred Hargreaves, who both played for Blackburn Rovers. England beat Ireland 13-0 and Vaughton scored five of the goals. The following month Vaughton scored in England's 5-1 victory over Scotland. Vaughton won his last international cap for England on 17th March, 1884. He scored six goals in five games for his country.
Aston Villa did very well in the 1886-87 season. They lost very few games and scored over 130 goals in the process. Stars of the team included Howard Vaughton, Archie Hunter, Albert Brown, Arthur Brown and Dennis Hodgetts. Aston Villa also had a good run in the 1886-87 FA Cup. They beat Wolverhampton Wanderers (2-0), Horncastle (5-0), Darwen (3-2) and Glasgow Rangers (3-1) to reach the final for the first time. Their local rivals, West Bromwich Albion, also reached the final.
The final was to be played at the Kennington Oval. The experienced Archie Hunter believed that this ground would be to the advantage of Aston Villa: "Our style of play is suited to a big ground, and the Albion with their long passing have the advantage on a small field. On the Oval we both shall have an equal chance, and where things are equal the short passing game is always the best. These are my reasons for thinking we will win on Saturday."
West Bromwich Albion was the better team in the first-half. However, in the second-half Aston Villa took control and it was no surprise when Richmond Davis, the team's outside-right, crossed for Dennis Hodgetts to sidefoot the ball in the net. WBA players claimed that Hodgetts was offside but the referee, Francis Marindin, who was also president of the Football Association, refused to change his mind.
In the 89th minute Archie Hunter raced through the West Bromwich Albion defence. He appeared to have pushed the ball too far ahead of him and the WBA goalkeeper, Bob Roberts, dashed forward but Hunter, stretching to the full, managed to get one final touch on the ball. As Hunter and Roberts collided the ball trickled over the line. Howard Vaughton had therefore won his first and only FA Cup winners' medal.
Vaughton was an outstanding sportsman. As well as playing football for his country he also a talented ice-skater and won the all-England title. A racing cyclist and a first-class swimmer, he played cricket for Warwickshire and was a County hockey player.
In May 1888, Howard Vaughton was forced to retire from football after suffering a serious thigh injury. He started his own silversmith's business in Birmingham that still exists today. In 1895 Vaughton was commissioned to make a new FA Cup after the old one was stolen from a shop window.
In June 1924 Vaughton was appointed president of Aston Villa. He remained a director of the club until December 1932.
Oliver Howard Vaughton died in Birmingham in January 1937.
One of the best of our all-round men was Howard Vaughton, a very popular athlete. Skating, rinking, cycling and football were all in his programme and his good-tempered smile, no matter how hard his work, the piano as well and was always a merry, good-tempered comrade. He came from the Aston Florence team and improved greatly during his stay with us, becoming ultimately one of the best forwards in the field and a deadly shot at goal. He was appropriately entitled the "Daisycutter" as he always kept the ball low on the ground.
Howard Vaughton... the peoples favourite, and one of Archie Hunter's pet pupils. An adept at every form of indoor and outdoor sport, he dribbled like an angel, and shot like a demon. Not nearly so deadly as his comrade, Whateley, he scored his share of goals. Whatever he did he did well, and was neatness personified. Could scarcely be played in wrong position, and was saturated through and through with the Aston Villa spirit. Scored the only goal in the famous cup tie against Queen Park in Glasgow, in 1884. Made a famous wing in company with Eli Davis. A keen judge of most games, a thorough sportsman, he has enriched sport in many directions.
Vaughton, a key member of the Villa's 1887 FA Cup-winning side, was regarded as one of the club's finest forwards during the 1880s, scoring a goal every two games before injury forced him to retire at the age of twenty-seven... Described as "a roamer", Vaughton could be erratic with his shooting but made up for that with his superb ball-skills.