Vegard Heggem has the inauspicious honour of being the only signing during Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier’s joint spell as manager during 1998. Right back/winger Heggem had started off his professional career in his native Norway with Rosenborg, and his most memorable moment for the club came when he scored during the Norwegian’s side historic 2-1 win against AC Milan in the San Siro which helped his side through to the quarter finals of the Champions League in 1996.
Heggem had already played 20 Champions League games when he moved to Anfield for £3.5million and had a wealth of experience in top level competition. He initially started out as a right winger, but he progressively moved into the backline where his pace and skill could be used as an attacking full-back.
He played 29 times during his first season at the club in 1998/99, despite picking up a hamstring which kept him out for month. In November he was substituted for a man called Steven Gerrard but he kept his place in the team for the rest of the season. Due to this desire to go forward, there was a concern about Heggem’s defensive abilities but he continued to be first choice right back and he also had a very successful second season at the club. At the end of his second year, he was called up by Norway for the European Championships in Belgium and Holland.
Heggem had missed most of the World Cup in 1998 with a groin injury, and this was a chance for him to excel at a major tournament. It was not to be though, as the right back was injured during the second game of the group stages. It was to be the last of his 20 caps for Norway.
Injury became a regular occurrence over the next three years during Heggem’s time on Merseyside. He constantly struggled with hamstring injuries and he only appeared a few times during the 2000/01 season. He did not appear at all during his next two years at the club and was released from his contract in 2003. Constant injuries had plagued his time at Liverpool and his promising career was cut short as he retired from football shortly after he left the club aged just 26. He played 65 times for Liverpool and scored three goals.
Heggem’s love for his former club though has led him to become the official patron of AFC Liverpool, a club set up by Liverpool supporters. He also regularly attends Reds matches and he went as a fan to the Champions League final in 2005 wearing his Liverpool tracksuit. Away from football, Heggem now is the owner and manager of a Salmon fishing business based on the River Orkla in Sør-Trøndelag, certainly a far cry from playing to a full house at Anfield.
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