Support shown after cancelled applause 'a huge comfort' for Sophie Purves

Sophie Purves has described the support shown as a "huge comfort." Picture: Tom Poole
Sophie Purves has described the support shown as a "huge comfort." Picture: Tom Poole

SOPHIE PURVES has insisted that the support shown from fans of York City and beyond after the cancellation of a planned minute’s applause has been “a huge comfort.”

Purves’ father, Rob McGill, died on November 30 last year. McGill had been a fan of York since the 1950s and was a director at the club for 10 years.

A minute’s applause had been planned in tribute to her father before being cancelled by the LNER Community Stadium's Stadium Management Company (SMC).

In a tweet, Purves detailed that it was felt, by the SMC, that the applause would be “inflammatory and divisive” among supporters, who met her words with a lot of support.

“He (Rob McGill) was a long-standing supporter, director for 10 years, a really good guy,” said Purves.

“I think the key thing here is that if homework had been properly done, then anybody would have quickly seen that a minute’s applause would not be divisive in any way, quite the contrary.

“When he died a year ago, we were flooded with positive messages and have been in the last few days from York City fans everywhere and beyond York City.

“There were also a lot of Wrexham fans that were sympathising with the situation. There were Middlesbrough (fans), Ebbsfleet, Tonbridge Angels, which is the club where I’m a director, Grimsby Town.

“I think this story has resonated with football fans throughout the country, because again, you can’t disrespect football fans.

“This was really showing disrespect to football fans, because what it was saying was, ‘you can’t behave yourselves during a minute’s applause for an 89 year-old man who loved York City.’

“That’s what it was saying and that’s so wrong, because football fans do respect and show support for the people that they know that are good guys in football.

“(The support shown) is a huge comfort. Even on the day it was actually, despite what happened and despite the way that I felt, it was a happy day, certainly for my mother.

“My father had worked very hard in the early days of trying to make sure that the LNER Community Stadium happened.

“To see the fruition of his labours and to have so many fans come up to me, my family and really embrace us was really heartwarming.

“I think that, of course it gives comfort, but I think the flipside to that is that it just really underlines how wrong they got it.”

Purves, sister of former City chairman Jason McGill, spent 13 years at City as communications and community director, before stepping down from her role in 2016.

She is now a director at Vanarama National League South side Tonbridge Angels, who are based in Kent.

"This had been planned for several months and there’d been discussions with the club directors Alastair Smith (York City’s chief executive officer) and Mike Brown (Supporters’ Trust board member) regarding the arrangement," noted Purves.

“We were very grateful, mainly because the previous club board had not permitted a minute’s silence when my father died.

"Therefore, this was really an opportunity one year later, with a new regime, to make things right and recognise my father’s contribution to the club during the decade when he was a director.”