Dedicated Everton fan, Steve travels to games home and away, and is also a prolific researcher and writer for the Society. Eventually, he decided to collate his work into book form. “I decided to write the book as I was initially writing the articles for the website,” said Steve. “This was until a former player questioned me as to why I didn’t put it in a book. So after some research I thought, why not?”
“I have been a fan of Everton since my first game on 19 October 1968, which was a home victory against Stoke City with Colin Harvey and John Hurst scoring the goals that day!”
Steve has already completed his third book, currently being made ready for publication, on the leaving of Goodison Park, and features a host of players and staff from clubs across the divisions, plus commentators, talking about their Goodison memories and experiences. It’s a fascinating read and we are eagerly awaiting its release date.
The Esk’s review of For the Boys in the Royal Blue Jersey by Steve Zocek
By the esk on 20
This review first appeared on Grandoldteam on 14 November 2016.
I don’t know Steve personally, but I’ve seen him at plenty of away games over the years, and as Joe Royle says in his foreword, Steve has “more than just a fanatical support for his club; it is a marvelous obsession”.
In Steve’s own words, he’s a fan not a journalist, and that’s the charm of the book. I’m probably of a similar age, so with the exception of a few of his interviewees, I can recall seeing them play in the Royal Blue of Everton.
(Click image to order Steve’s books)
The book is a collection of 50 interviews, arranged in alphabetical order. Forty-nine are players, the other is a memorable interview with the daughter of Alan Ball, Steve’s hero. It’s a wonderful interview as it not only give information on Alan and football, but an insight into his family life, and perhaps most meaningfully, the relationship between Bally, Everton and of course, us the fans – very enjoyable read.
It’s a book to pick your way through, for me I enjoyed going from one player to another based on my own preferences, I don’t think many will start with Alan Ainscow and read through in alphabetic order to George Wood.
There’s lots in the book I wasn’t aware of, personal insights from players, little nuggets of information that have come out in conversation. One thing that struck me is Steve’s knowledge of our club and the players themselves – forgive me for using the word but it’s phenomenal.
I’m not going to do any spoilers, other than mention my particular favourite stories featured the players in the mid/late 60’s playing under Harry Catterick.
Having said that this book is a great read for all ages, you don’t need to be in your 50’s or older to enjoy it. If you love Everton, and our history you’ll love the stories, and be in awe of Steve’s dedication.
The book is a must for Evertonians hungry to learn more of the greats (and some of the not so greats) who have pulled on the royal blue jersey. Even better that part of the proceeds of the book go direct to the Former Players’ Foundation.
I’ll leave you with 2 quotes from the book
“I…would have crawled on my hands and knees from Huddersfield to sign for Everton” Ray Wilson (World Cup Winner)
“I have lived my dreams for playing for one of the best teams in the world” John Bailey
Many thanks to Steve, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!
As Everton fans, we all sing the anthems, ‘It’s a grand old team to play for,’ and, ‘If you know your history,’ but how well do you really know the players of the past? The first volume featured interviews with fifty former Everton players who have lived the boyhood dream; gracing the famous Goodison turf in the royal blue jersey. This edition contains interviews with fifty more former players, some who are very well known, and others less so. Some could count their total games on one hand. But, one thing they all have in common, is their pride in wearing the royal blue jersey and playing at Goodison Park.