After seven years back at Liverpool in an academy consultant role, club legend Steve Heighway has announced his retirement at the age of 75.
Heighway is a bona fide legend at Liverpool, having served the club for 11 successful years as a player and another 25 in various roles off the pitch.
Eighteen of those were spent as head of youth development, nurturing a golden generation of talent through the academy that included Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler.
He retired from that position in 2007, before rejoining the youth setup on a part-time basis in 2015, converting that to a full-time consultancy role later that year.
What a contribution from Steve Heighway @LFC as a player who won Leagues & European cups. Then heading up an academy that produced McManaman, Fowler, Owen, Gerrard……amongst a few others!
A huge influence on me as a young player & still to this day.
Thank you Steve ? https://t.co/YgCAzoqd2J
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) December 1, 2022
Now, though, Liverpool will be losing his wealth of knowledge and experience – at least formally – with the confirmation of his retirement on Thursday.
Academy director Alex Inglethorpe, who facilitated Heighway’s return to the club seven years ago, paid tribute to the departing legend.
“Steve has decided it is the right time to retire from his coaching role at the club,” he told the club’s official website.
“Steve has not only enjoyed a successful playing career at the club, but also an incredible coaching career lasting over 40 years, in which he has overseen the development of some of the most iconic players to have played for Liverpool Football Club.
“Whilst Steve may no longer be putting on his boots to work on the grass, he will still be at the academy to watch games and share his expertise and wisdom for those fortunate to be in his company.
“I would like to lead the thanks to Steve for the time and guidance that he has given to not only myself but to all of us at the academy over the last seven years.”
Just like Ronnie Moran before him, it sounds as though this will be far from the last Liverpool see of Heighway and his infectious commitment to youth at the academy in Kirkby.