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Steven Harkness (born 27 August 1971) is an English former professional footballer who played as a defender from 1989 to 2002.

Steve Harkness
1 steve harkness 2017.jpg
Harkness playing in a friendly in 2017
Personal information
Full name Steven Harkness
Date of birth (1971-08-27) 27 August 1971 (age 47)
Place of birth Carlisle, Cumberland, England
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Playing position Left Back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989 Carlisle United 13 (0)
1989–1999 Liverpool 102 (3)
1993Huddersfield Town (loan) 5 (0)
1995Southend United (loan) 6 (0)
1999 Benfica 9 (0)
1999–2000 Blackburn Rovers 17 (0)
2000–2002 Sheffield Wednesday 30 (1)
2002 Chester City 10 (0)
Total 192 (4)
National team
England Youth
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He notably had spells in the Premier League with Liverpool as well as playing in Portugal with Benfica. He also played in the Football League with Carlisle United, Huddersfield Town, Southend United, Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday and Chester City.


Playing careerEdit

Carlisle UnitedEdit

A defender or midfielder, most comfortable at left-back but able to play in a range of positions, he began his career with his hometown club, Carlisle United, signing professional forms on 31 March 1989. After just 13 games for the Cumbrians he impressed sufficiently to be signed by Liverpool.


He joined under manager Kenny Dalglish on 17 July 1989 for £75,000. At this time Liverpool were still the dominant side England as holders of the FA Cup and having not finished lower than champions or runners-up in the First Division since 1981.

However, Harkness did not walk straight into the first team at Anfield, as David Burrows was the club's first choice left-back. By the time Dalglish resigned on 22 February 1991, Harkness had been at Liverpool for 19 months but had still yet to make his competitive debut. Dalglish was succeeded by Graeme Souness as Liverpool manager and it was Souness who gave Harkness his Liverpool debut, two years after arriving, in the 1–0 league win over Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on 27 August 1991 – his 20th birthday. His first goal for the Reds did not come until the 29 April 1995 in the 2–1 league win against Norwich City, on Carrow Road. He was out of the side between December 1994 and mid-April 1995 meaning he missed the victorious 1995 Football League Cup Final.[1]

Harkness suffered a broken leg in Liverpool's 1–0 league defeat at Coventry City[2] on 6 April 1996 and was out of action for nearly a year afterwards. He missed the 1996 FA Cup Final, which Liverpool lost 1–0 to Manchester United, and also missed the bulk of the 1996–97 season, in which Liverpool frequently led the Premier League until being leapfrogged by Manchester United in late January and were ultimately unable to stop their north-west rivals from retaining the league title.[3]

He was a favourite amongst many of the Liverpool supporters but never established himself as a first-team regular, making 140 appearances in his 6 years at the club. He was sent out on loan twice during his Anfield career, firstly to Huddersfield Town, where he played 6 times and also Southend United, where he, again, played 6 times.He remained at Anfield until 1999 but was one of the first victims of the Houllier revolution.

His period at Liverpool was marred by him becoming the first player to be reported to the FA for racist abuse. Stan Collymore alleged that during a 1998 match for Aston Villa against Liverpool, Harkness subjected him to a 10-minute barrage of insults pertaining to his mixed-race heritage. Harkness denied the allegations.[4]

Benfica and Blackburn RoversEdit

He left Anfield to join up with old manager Graeme Souness at Benfica on 9 March 1999 for £750,000 – He only lasted five months in Portugal, however, before Brian Kidd paid £400,000 to bring him to Blackburn Rovers on 26 August 1999 – three months after their relegation from the Premier League and one day before Harkness's 28th birthday.

He made his debut for Rovers on 6 November 1999 in the 2–2 league draw with Ipswich Town – the first game after Brian Kidd was sacked and long-serving coach Tony Parkes put in charge – at Ewood Park. His former Liverpool and Benfica manager Graeme Souness was appointed as Blackburn's manager on 15 March 2000.

Sheffield WednesdayEdit

After a disappointing year, which saw Blackburn finish mid-table in the First Division, he was allowed to join Sheffield Wednesday for £200,000 after just 21 appearances; just like Blackburn when Harkness had joined them a year earlier, Wednesday had just been relegated from the Premier League. His Owls debut came on 30 September 2000 in the 2–0 league defeat to Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium.

His two years at Hillsborough were plagued by injury, however, and he only managed 32 appearances in that time, and scored once against Birmingham City.[5] It was not a successful time for the Owls, who narrowly avoided relegation to Division Two in both of his seasons there and would go down the following year. Wednesday terminated his contract in May 2002.[6]

Chester CityEdit

He moved to Chester on a free transfer on 11 July July 2002, playing under former teammate Mark Wright, but he was forced to retire on 2 November of that year, aged 31, having played just 10 times.


  1. ^ "List of appearances in 1994-1995 by Steve Harkness". Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  2. ^ Articles. "Harkness is a broken man – LFChistory – Stats galore for Liverpool FC!". LFChistory. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Liverpool Results 1995–96". Liverweb. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  4. ^ Walker, Paul (6 March 1998). "Football: Harkness denies racist slur". The Independent. London.
  5. ^ "Sheff Wed 1–0 Birmingham". BBC. 22 October 2000. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  6. ^ "One in, one out at Owls". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 29 May 2002. Retrieved 24 March 2015.

External linksEdit