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Stacey returns to BS3 for book launch

“I miss Saturday afternoon at Ashton Gate.”

Those are the words of Stephen Darrow Stacey, a former City full-back who has resided in Australia since 1974.

Steve is soon to make his return to BS3 when he visits England for the first time since his move to the other side of the world, launching his autobiography at the same time.

He became the first footballer of African-American descent to play professional football in England, featuring for Bristol City across two stints between 1961-65 and 1970-71.

His book The Colour of Football is published by Bristol Books and will be launched at Ashton Gate on Friday, September 6th.

Supporters are invited to arrive from 6pm at the Bristol Sport Store, where they will have the opportunity to purchase a book and meet Steve.

The launch, which is free to attend, will take place in the Sports Bar, with the bar open to purchase drinks.

Steve will subsequently attend the match against Swansea on September 21st.

Steve said: “It’s been a long time since I’ve visited ‘The Old Dart’ [Aussie slang for England] and I must say that Dot my wife of many years and I can’t wait. It’s not only the family we miss but the whole football thing is difficult to reconcile when you’re half way across the world. Football is coming of age in Australia, but I must confess I miss Saturday afternoon at Ashton Gate. We will be in the UK for some six weeks and I hope to catch up with a few friends.”

Steve’s father Clarence Sims came over to England with the US Army in the Second World War and was based in The Müller Orphanage at Ashley Down. He met a local woman, Evelyn Stacey, and the couple welcomed Steve int the world in 1944.

The US army forbade marriage between their black soldiers and British white women and Clarence was repatriated after the war and the couple led separate lives. Steve grew up to win a scholarship at Fairfield Grammar School, where, as the only African-American among white pupils, he excelled at cricket and football. He played for local football clubs like Highridge United and Sneyd Park before signing on as an apprentice at City in 1961, aged 17. This was the beginning of a fascinating life in professional football.

Steve with his wife Dot and daughters Michelle and Natalie emigrated to Australia in 1974, where he began another footballing career in the top league. After a unique and colourful life in the professional game, Steve was then moved to write his autobiography.