Steve Heighway – Kicking off with a degree

Monday, December 7 – 1970
Steve Heighway, summer  graduate BA in politics and economics, is wintering well among the masters of English First Division football.

At the age of 22 he has completed one of the sport’s most remarkable transfers – from studies at Warwick University to a special highlight spot on Saturday night’s BBC TV Match of the Day programme, in a few short months.

He is an exciting footballer who is just nine appearances in the Football League has set the public talking about his devastating pace and ability. Why did a player with so much talent put university studies before football in the first place?

Why did a brainy young man with such high qualifications choose a career as a footballer at the age of 22?

Heighway, back in Coventry yesterday for a reunion at Warwick University and to see his wife, Sue, who is at teachers training college, said: “When I went to university it was not at the expense of a football career.
I wasn’t good enough at that stage.
I became an amateur with Manchester City after they saw me playing for the England grammar schools team. It was never a very serious relationship.

It wasn’t until Roy Rees, who was manager of the English universities team, took me to Skelmersdale that I joined Liverpool.
I was never what you might call an academic, an intellectual. I had no difficulty in deciding to be a footballer when I finished at university.
There was no risk involved in going into football. I had these qualifications behind me. I knew that I could still do what I intended doing when I went to university – and that was to become a teacher.

At university it’s do-as-you-please life. If you don’t feel like doing your own work one day there’s always tomorrow. Whatever discipline there is – is self-imposed.
As a footballer you have to get used to more regular working hours and doing what you are told. Now you take orders.
But I’m loving it. I love Liverpool. I would rather pack in the game than move.
The thought of being a transfer market footballer depresses me. As long as Liverpool are happy with me I’m delighted.

Liverpool are very happy with this graduate, and old boy of Rugby-playing Mosley Hall, Cheadle, who become an international Soccer player with the Republic of Ireland before making a full First Division appearance with his new club.

And they are also happy with the form of another graduate, 24 year-old, Brian Hall, B.Sc. Liverpool University.

Hall, who become a professional at the age of 21, said: “I never really thought about it until my last year at university.

Like Steve, when the chance came to be a professional football I took it because I knew I would have something to fall back on.
I intended going into computer programming. Now I think if I gave up football I would be a teacher.
(Daily Mail, 07-12-1970)

Steve Heighway and his wife Sue in the Goal magazine.
Steve Heighway

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