At the age of nine, Emile Heskey earned a place in the Leicester City academy where he progressed through the ranks before signing a pro contract and making his debut in 1995 at the age of 17. Heskey became a first team regular in the 1995/96 season and helped the team win promotion to the Premiership. In the 1996//97 campaign, Heskey scored ten goals in 35 matches and also scored the equaliser in the League Cup final to earn a replay which Leicester won. He scored ten goals again the following season although he only managed six during the 1998/99 season. The 1999/2000 season saw Heskey lift the League Cup again with Leicester with a 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the final.
Despite never being prolific, Heskey made an £11 million move to Liverpool which was met with a mixed reaction from supporters. However, the striker formed an effective partnership with Michael Owen and notched 23 goals during the 2000/01 campaign. This proved to be his best season for the club as he also lifted the FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup. The next two seasons proved frustrating for Heskey as he scored only six and twelve goals respectively. Eventually, he made a move to Birmingham City for £3.5 million and repaid the club with 11 goals and the club's Player of the Season award for the 2004/05 campaign. However, the striker endured a disappointing 2005/06 campaign with only three goals and it proved to be his last at the club.
Heskey was signed by Wigan Athletic in 2006 and he proved to be a favourite in his two full seasons with the club despite never being prolific. Instead his physical hold up play gave Wigan a different dimension which attracted the attention of bigger clubs. During the 2009 January transfer window, Heskey moved to Aston Villa for £3.5 million and scored on his debut. However, his move coincided with Villa's poor end of season form and some supporters blamed him for disrupting Villa's style of play.