'Every family has got a story to tell and this is mine' - Crawley Town fan's life told in new book written in Lockdown

Steve Leake’s life has been dominated by Crawley Town and football.

Crawley Town fan Steve Leake with his new book
Crawley Town fan Steve Leake with his new book

Ever since his family moved to Crawley New Town in 1952, he has followed the Reds and the big events in his life have coincided with important moments at Crawley Town

And now the 69-year-old has put all those big occasions and moments in a new book called Noli Cedere: An account of one family’s journey through life.

The book is on sale on Amazon in paperback and a Kindle edition and all proceeds will go to Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity – which is a subject very close to Steve’s heart - and the Crawley Town Community Foundation.

In 2003, Steve’s daughter Vicky gave birth stillborn to Steve’s grandson Alex and now the first-time author wants to give something back to charity which has helped the family.

So how did the book get made? “I wrote the first few chapters about a year ago. I put it away because I had more important things to do.

“But then lockdown came along I said ‘what is there to do’ and I thought, ‘well there are either jigsaws or the book’ so I started it again. I wanted a hook, because who would buy a Steve Leake’s biography?

“So I connected it with Crawley Town – I’ve had 64 years of watching. I started to connect things that have happened in my family to games, for instance my sister was born when I was at a Crawley game.

“[In the book] I also linked it with things that are not so happy. That’s why I donate the royalties to Sands, because in the 2003/2004 season my daughter Vicki gave birth stillborn to my first grandson Alex.

“The first time they went out after that was the Weymouth away game when Ian Payne saved the penalty.

“It was the first time I saw them happy since they lost Alex. Football has always meant a lot to our family.”

Steve does not want to make any money from the book – which has already sold more than 100 copies – but he would like to cover his production costs and raise as much money as he can for Sands.

“I would like to sell over 200 copies. If I break even with the publishing costs I would be happy. In the first few days of it being released I got excited because it was the fifth-highest selling football biographies. I think we’re 18th now. Sands contacted me and they are going to put it on their website. I want people to read it because they can relate to it.

“Every family has got a story to tell and this is mine.”

Crawley Town fans Mick Fox and John Barnet all helped with the book. Steve said: “I was doing it season by season. I moved to Crawley in 1952. My dad was born in Stoke, but he took me down to a game and despite losing our first five games, something about Crawley just stuck. One of my happiest memories is being hit in the face by a ball. The physio came over and gave me the magic sponge.”

On Steve’s 50th birthday, his wife Paula paid for Steve to be a mascot at a Crawley game where he trained with the team before the game.

Steve’s book also has memories of his time working for Rediffusion Simulation and other companies on Manor Royal as well as his career as a teacher at ICC, Oakwood, Oriel and Holy Trinity.

If you would like to read Steve’s book, you can buy it on Amazon.