For the first time in many years, I came away from the Memorial Stadium with a big smile on my face. As I have not been to a game for over three years, this statement does not quite mean what it seems to mean, but please bear with me.
Chairman Nick Higgs was generous enough to meet up with Clive Hiscox and myself to thank him for what the club had done in respect of Clive’s son Ben who died earlier this year following a tragic football accident. I can confirm that the club has been immense since Ben’s passing, demonstrating the positivity a football club can have on the community. Individuals like Nick Day, Rovers brilliant PA man, have been with our local community from the start, so has manager Darrell Clarke and we know that Nick Higgs has been with the family right from the start, too.
We did not waste a moment of the hour Mr Higgs so generously allowed us and when we left I am quite certain he was fully aware of the appreciation the community and Ben’s family feel for Bristol Rovers, which delivered at a time when it was needed more than ever.
I am disappointed that the reason I no longer attend matches will now never be resolved. There is no mood for compromise, no desire to end the impasse, so it really is time for me to move on for good. It was good to leave the football club for the very last time on such good terms. I can only feel good about that.
Football really is only a game and ultimately it is people who matter. I was very privileged to met Mr Higgs with Clive today, just as I have always felt privileged to feel part of the Hiscox extended family.
I suffer from what doctors don’t call “extreme loyalty”, a world in which there are no shades of grey, only black and white decisions. I know it infuriates as many people as it pleases, but it’s just the way I am. I just do what I think is right and in that way I can live with the decisions I make.
Goodnight Irene, I’ll see you in my dreams, but sadly not anywhere else. As Bruce Hornsby once said, “That’s just the way it is, some things will never change.”