Lewis Stevenson on staying at Hibs, playing another season and the alternative career he might have had
Lewis Stevenson hasn’t had talks about a new contract yet, but the club’s new record holder for league appearances is relaxed about his personal situation.
The 35-year-old would love to stay for another year at the only club he has served but accepts it might not happen. That’s why he is relishing every minute he spends on the pitch in a green jersey and every new landmark that comes his way.
“I think I’m enjoying it as much as I ever have throughout my career,” he said after his 450th league appearance, a new club record. “You think, when you’re getting near the end, you have to try to enjoy it more. Even on wet and windy days like Saturday, I still feel it is an honour to play for a club like Hibs. Hopefully I can continue doing it for a wee bit longer.”
That remains to be seen. The club stalwart’s contract expires this summer. He knows he is not a priority, even if he has made the left-back berth his own in recent weeks. Does the veteran feel he has something to offer next season?
“Yes, but I might not be here,” he acknowledged. “I understand that the club needs to move on, and needs to evolve. There are still three or four months left. I know that there has been a lot more important stuff going on at the club than sorting me out.
“I’m pretty laid back about things like that. I wondered about stuff like that five years ago, and I’m still here. So whatever happens, I’ve had an amazing time here and I’m still enjoying my football.
“When you get to 35 it’s a lot harder to get a new one-year deal. But I’m open to anything and I’d love to stay here for as long as possible. But I do get that the club needs to move on and evolve – you might not want to have a 35-year-old playing at left-back. So we’ll see what happens. But if it is not here, I want to play football for as long as possible.
“Maybe I don’t go up and down the pitch quite as much as I did ten or 15 years ago. But I still feel as quick. You also learn more about what you can get away with as you get older. I generally feel I’m getting through games all right. For a 35-year-old full-back I feel pretty good.”
Manager Lee Johnson made a presentation to Stevenson after Saturday’s 1-0 win at St Mirren to mark league appearance number 450. It could all have been very different.
Stevenson signed professional terms in 2005. He had been on his way to Dundee University to study politics that summer and went on an end-of-school jaunt with his mates to Magaluf. But he then received a surprise offer from Tony Mowbray and became a Hibs footballer instead.
“Back then I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” he recalled. “I’ve played 565 games – I think – for Hibs but back then my family said, ‘look, you’re not going to play a lot of games’.
“I was all set to study politics. I went to Magaluf and I was at the airport buying loads of cigarettes – when you could do that – to sell them on. The kitman saw me and was going to grass me up to the manager, Tony Mowbray, but he didn’t. So I owe it to Tam McCourt for not telling, and the rest is history. I joined Hibs.”