Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News


7 October 2021

Learn more about the first black player to play for Ipswich Town

As part of the Club's celebration of Black History Month, we have given Town supporters the opportunity to learn a little more about the first black player to play for the Blues first-team.

Steve Stacey, born in August 1944, turned out for the Club on three occasions.

Below, and in Saturday's matchday programme, we take a look at his time in the game.

Steve, whose father was a black American serving in the US forces, and mum a Bristolian, was born in Bristol. He was raised by his mother after his father returned to the US following the Second World War.

Steve was an apprentice for Bristol City before signing professionally for the Robins in 1961. After struggling to secure a first-team spot at the Club, he moved to Wrexham for £7,000.

Steve's debut for the Red Dragons came in 1966, when he was the first player of African-American heritage to play in the Football League. He would go on to feature for Wrexham more than 100 times.

After four seasons with the club, he joined Town in 1968.

In his autobiography, The Colour of Football, Steve recalled: “I was the only non-white player in the dressing room, and I had become used to that loneliness.”

Steve made his debut for the Club in September 1968 at home to Liverpool. Unfortunately, a nasty hamstring injury brought about a premature end to the defender’s debut, and his next first-team appearance didn’t come until April 1969. By that time, Sir Bobby Robson was in charge of the Blues.

Whilst on the books at Town, Steve had loan spells with Chester and Charlton, before rejoining Bristol City in 1970.

 As well as the first black player to feature for Town, Steve was also the first black player to play for Charlton, in 1970, and Exeter City in 1971 – whom he joined from the Robins.

In 1974, he emigrated to Australia, where he spent four seasons in the first division with Floreat Athena and Rockingham City.

An extended profile on Steve will be available in Saturday's matchday programme.

Stacey square.png

As well as the matchday programme feature on Steve, the Club is also working with Suffolk Police in the FanZone for the visit of Shrewsbury this weekend. Two black police officers will be present in the FanZone to speak with supporters about the importance of Black History Month and their experience of policing in Suffolk as black officers. Our SLO Hub will also look at the history of black players at the Club.

The Club is also working with Suffolk Police to deliver a school assembly to a local high school, with members of the first-team squad in attendance, plus talks to local primary schools.

A range of initiatives and activities will continue to take place throughout the month to help promote and celebrate black contributions to the Club and society, and to ultimately promote a better knowledge and understanding of the history of the black community.

Photo is of a newspaper cutting from when Steve joined Town in 1968. Credit: Archant.


Advertisement block