Tribute paid to supporters' group member Pat Abel for helping hand in getting Coventry City back at the Ricoh Arena
Coventry City director Tim Fisher today paid tribute to a leading member of a club’s supporters group who ‘set the ball rolling’ on the road to reconciliation.
The Coventry City Supporters’ Consultative Group - made up of fans’ groups and other supporters’ representatives – has continued to meet while the club has been playing games outside the city.
Fisher has been a guest at most meetings to keep supporters informed of club plans and today praised the work of the group for helping to bring about the agreement to return to the Ricoh.
And he has picked out one particular member ahead of the first game back at the Ricoh against Gillingham next Friday.
He said: “At one of the SCG’s last meetings at the Ricoh just as the issues were coming to the fore, Pat Abel, who is a long-standing member of the group and a great supporter of the club, suggested contacting the Cathedral to see it if could play a part in reaching an agreement.
“Pat is not a lady to be thwarted. The Archbishop of Canterbury was at the Cathedral when they met and they mentioned in passing.
“He suggested she contacted the Bishop, as peace and reconciliation is a community as well as an international issue, and that’s just what she did.
“Eventually the chair of the SCG Jonathan Strange approached owner Joy Seppala and the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend John Witcombe and a meeting was arranged.
“That led – many hours and meetings later – to where we are today. It is typical that Pat does not want to take any credit but her idea and the work of the SCG has played a key part.
“The members of the SCG have not always agreed with club policy and there have, at times, been some very strained meetings, but they have never wavered in their determination to help us return to the city and I thank them for that.”
SCG chair Jonathan Strange said: “The SCG was established to ensure two way communication between the club and its supporters and we have continued to meet during the recent troubled times.
“Obviously recent times have not been easy but Tim has continued to attend our meetings and has never shirked any of the issues.
“Pat raised the potential of church representatives playing a part as mediators, as she is a regular member of the Cathedral congregation, and I was happy to make the approaches. What really matters is that we will see the club playing back in the city.
“It’s great that we can now get back to the real reason the SCG was originally set-up – to encourage dialogue between the club and the supporters to help improve the experience for fans on matchdays and, indeed, non-matchdays.”