Steve Heighway

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Steve Heighway
Personal information
Full nameStephen Derek Heighway
Date of birth (1947-11-25) 25 November 1947 (age 73)
Place of birth

Dublin, Ireland

Position(s) Winger
Youth career
Skelmersdale United
Senior career*
1970–1981 Liverpool 329 (50)
1981 Minnesota Kicks 26 (4)
1981–1982 Philadelphia Fever (indoor) 23 (3)
National team
1970–1981 Republic of Ireland 34 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Stephen Derek Heighway (born 25 November 1947) is an Irish former footballer who was part of the hugely successful Liverpool team of the 1970s. Regarded as one of the greatest ever Liverpool players, he was ranked 23rd in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop poll.


Heighway became academy director at Liverpool in a period when the club brought through such players as Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler and Jamie Carragher. He retired in 2007 but later rejoined the Liverpool academy in a consultancy role which he currently holds. [2]

Life and playing career

Though he was born in Dublin, Ireland, [1] some of Steve's early education took place in Sheffield where he attended Ecclesall Junior School (until 1959) followed by High Storrs School, and latterly Moseley Hall Grammar School for Boys in Cheadle, near Stockport.

Heighway's early promise as a winger was not spotted by professional clubs as he reached his adolescence and instead he concentrated on his studies in economics and politics at the University of Warwick in Coventry (where he started in 1966), and achieved a 2:1.

In 1970, Heighway was studying for his final exams and playing for Skelmersdale United when he was spotted by Liverpool's scouting system. With manager Bill Shankly keen to rebuild his ageing, underachieving team of the 1960s completely, Heighway was signed up swiftly in the May of '70. It was due to Heighway's academic achievements that he got his nickname 'Big Bamber', teammate and fellow university graduate Brian Hall was dubbed 'Little Bamber' both after the television programme University Challenge host Bamber Gascoigne.

A strong and pacey left winger with two good feet, Heighway settled into top flight football with some ease after making his debut on 22 September 1970 in a League Cup 2nd round replay at Anfield. Mansfield Town were the visitors and almost caused an upset with the Reds scraping through in the end by 3 goals to 2 with Alun Evans scoring the winner in extra time. Heighway opened his goalscoring account in the 51st minute of a 2–0 home league win over Burnley on 21 October 1970.

A month later he scored against Merseyside rivals Everton in a hard-fought 3–2 win, this after the Reds had found themselves 2–0 down not long into the second half. He stayed in the side for the rest of the season as Liverpool's new charges finished the League campaign strongly and also defeated Everton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup to reach the final at Wembley.

Their opponents were Arsenal, who were after a coveted "double" having won the League championship. Heighway played confidently in a match which was goalless after 90 minutes and therefore needed a period of extra-time.

Just two minutes into the added half-hour, Heighway received the ball wide on his left flank from substitute Peter Thompson (ironically, the man whose place Heighway had ultimately taken) and started a run towards the Arsenal penalty area, with Gunners full back Pat Rice tracking his run but unwilling to put in a tackle.

With a swift turn outside Heighway gained a yard on Rice and hit a low drive into the net past Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson who had committed the cardinal goalkeeping sin of coming out too far from his near post to anticipate a cross, thereby leaving a gap. Heighway exploited this gap and Liverpool were st decided to raise his arms in triumph from a standing position while his teammates came to congratulate him.

Sadly for Heighway and Liverpool, their opponents scored two goals in response and won the "double". However, the goal scored by Heighway has (to Wilson's embarrassment) become one of the

Heighway settled into the Liverpool team for the next decade, winning the first of four League titles in 1973, along with the UEFA Cup. He returned to Wembley for another FA Cup final a year later as Liverpool faced Newcastle United.

This time Liverpool were not troubled. Heighway scored again with 16 minutes of the game remaining to make it 2–0, latching on to a flick from John Toshack after a long clearance from goalkeeper Ray Clemence to slot a right footed shot into the far corner. The game ended 3–0.

By now, Heighway was a regular for the Republic of Ireland making his debut on 23 September 1970 against Poland. He remained so for the whole of the 1970s, winning a total of 34 caps. Steve never managed to score for the Republic. However, he did have a goal disallowed in a qualifier for the 1978 World Cup against Bulgaria in Sofia. If the goal had stood it would have meant Ireland and not France qualifying for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. On the domestic front, he attained another League and UEFA Cup double with Liverpool in 1976 and then formed part of the side which came so close to the glorious "treble" of League, FA Cup and European Cup.

Liverpool won the League by a single point and again defeated rivals Everton in the semi-final to reach the FA Cup final, this time to face bitter rivals Manchester United at Wembley. With a European Cup final due in Rome four days later, Heighway and his teammates had a great chance to make footballing history.

It never happened. Liverpool lost 2–1 at Wembley and the "treble" dream was dead. Heighway scored his first goal of the 1977 European Cup in their 5–0 first round second leg win over Crusaders. He then scored in their 3–0 second round win against Trabzonspor. He then went on to score in their 3–1 semi final first leg win over Zurich. Then they went on to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 3–1 to win their first European Cup, with Heighway setting up both of Liverpool's outfield goals for Terry McDermott, a defence splitting pass, and Tommy Smith, a corner. The third was a penalty from Phil Neal.

In 1978, Heighway was on the bench as Liverpool retained the European Cup with a 1–0 victory over FC Bruges at Wembley, coming on as a substitute for Jimmy Case. The following year he was again in the side frequently as Liverpool won yet another League title, but from 1980 onwards his opportunities in the side diminished.

Heighway stayed for two more seasons, appearing only occasionally in the team and missing out on two more League title medals, another European Cup triumph and a first League Cup medal, which was successfully defended a year later. He left Anfield in 1982 after 444 matches and 76 goals.

Heighway then prolonged his career with a move to the U.S., joining Minnesota Kicks for the 1981 season. He played 26 games, scored 4 goals and assisted on 7 others. He then joined the coaching staff of Umbro, which led to a position ers and in 1989 was asked to rejoin Liverpool to run their youth academy, bringing promising youngsters up through the system until they were ready for the professional game. Among Heighway's successes are Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Dominic Matteo, David Thompson and Michael Owen.

On 4 September 2006, a poll on Liverpool's official web site named Heighway 23rd out of 100 Players Who Shook The Kop. [3]

Heighway announced his retirement from Liverpool on 26 April 2007, immediately after the side he managed won the FA Youth Cup for the second year running: he commented: "I don't know what the future holds just yet, we'll have to wait and see." [4] Heighway also features in a popular Liverpool chant Fields of Anfield Road, which is frequently sung by fans of Liverpool during matches.


As a player

As Academy Director

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  2. Beesley, Chris (28 October 2015). "Liverpool FC return for Steve Heighway". Liverpool Echo.
  3. [ bare URL ]
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  7. "Charity Shield - Liverpool 1 - 0 Southampton". LFC History. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
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  13. Ornstein, David (27 April 2007). "Spot-on Liverpool retain cup". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2014.