18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
The former fly-half played for the club for seven years and was the record points scorer with more than 1,500 points before Paul Grayson joined the club in 1994, but he still holds the record for the most points scored in a season with 425. Steele took over as director of rugby from Ian McGeechan in 1999 and coached the side to becoming European champions in 2000, as well as reaching a Tetley's Bitter Cup final in the same year.
Steele handed over the coaching reins to Wayne Smith in 2001 and became a board director, overseeing the playing and operational sides of the business. Saints went on to make two further Powergen Cup finals and finished in the top three of the league for last three seasons. The club has also qualified for the Heineken Cup for the last six consecutive years and Steele has not missed one Saints game during that time.
The former Sandhurst-trained Royal Artillery captain, who is also qualified as a chartered surveyor, has seen the club float on the stock market to become a Plc, contributed to both Saints emerging as a profitable business and the development of Franklin's Gardens into the 12,200-capacity stadium it is now.
Former Perse School pupil Steele is also an executive director of Premier Rugby Ltd and is a director on the England Rugby board, responsible for managing the elite game in England.
Father-of-two Steele said: "I have been very fortunate to have been a part of the Saints for 13 years. It is a unique club that I have thoroughly enjoyed working for. However, the time has come for me to look for new challenges and although it was a very tough decision, I have decided that I will move on at the end of the season."
Saints chairman Keith Barwell said: "John has been a very loyal servant to the club and a great Saintsman. John will remain as a member of the board where his undoubted experience will be invaluable to us."