Without going into confidential details, I had a very nice email today from Bristol Rovers chair Nick Higgs. You see, I have been in correspondence with Mr Higgs regarding the club’s kindness after the tragic death of Stoke Gifford legend Ben Hiscox.
You may remember that following Ben’s passing, Rovers generously permitted a minute’s applause in respect of Ben, something largely unprecedented for someone who was not directly connected with the football club. These things are, quite rightly, normally reserved for ex players and officials, but somehow Rovers read the public mood exactly right. Ben’s passing resonated with a lot of people, way beyond the village of Stoke Gifford. The club and its supporters rose to the occasion.
I’m meeting Mr Higgs early in September, along with Ben’s dad, Clive. We want to tell him personally, face-to-face, how much the family and our community appreciated the club’s generosity. That was the heart of Bristol Rovers that clearly still beats strongly.
I would like to close by saying one more thing. I have not been to a Rovers game for almost three years now because of the ban served on my great friend Kevin Spencer and I shall not attend another game for as long as the ban remains. When we meet Mr Higgs, I will not be raising the matter for two reasons. Firstly, because the meeting is about something and someone far more important than a banning order and secondly because Kevin has said he does not want me to raise the matter. “It’s not about me”, he told me some weeks ago and I am happy to respect his wishes. I agree with Kevin because it’s not about me, either.
Whatever our disagreements, I have nothing but praise for Nick Higgs and Bristol Rovers Football Club over the way they have respected “our Ben”. The arguments of the past may not have been resolved, but they no longer matter. Some things in life are far more important.