Brentford Football Club’s new training facility, named after former technical director Robert Rowan, has been officially opened.
The Robert Rowan Performance Centre – which is likely to be in place for up to the next five years, enabling the club to continue to develop its plans for a new permanent performance centre – has been used by the Brentford players and football staff for the past few weeks. It has been named after Robert as part of the club’s tributes to his memory.
The Robert Rowan Performance Centre was officially opened today, Friday 16 December. Members of Robert’s family – including his wife Suzanne and mum Jackie – were part of the ceremony.
A plaque commemorating Robert, the ceremony and the centre was unveiled and there was a tour of the facility for first-time visitors.
Robert suffered a fatal cardiomyopathy episode in the early hours of Monday 12 November 2018 and died at the age of 28. He went to bed the night before and died in his sleep. He left behind Suzanne, who he married in November 2016.
Robert had been technical director since February 2018 and had been with Brentford for just short of four years. Both the temporary facility and a permanent performance centre, when plans are finalised, will carry Robert’s name.
Brentford FC director of football Phil Giles said: “While Robert’s time at the club was tragically cut short, the naming of our new performance centre after him is a fitting way to remember his immense legacy.
“The qualities that Robert stood for in life, hard work, togetherness, and a constant desire to improve and find new ways to do things, are the foundation for the facilities within this new performance centre.
“Robert played a huge part in getting us to where we are today, and, hopefully, this new performance centre, which rightly bears his name, will help us reach new heights moving forward.
“On a personal level, walking past his portrait every morning on my way into the centre will make me, and I’m sure everyone else who was fortunate enough to know Robert, smile, thinking of our good friend, but also be a reminder to make the most of every day that we have here.”
Robert joined Brentford in late 2014 and was appointed as the club’s head of football operations in the summer of 2015, which meant he was managing the day-to-day football operations at the training ground as well as overseeing the strategic direction of Brentford B, the club’s elite squad of players aged 17 to 21.
He was promoted to technical director at the start of 2018, a role he held until his untimely death.
His memory lives on with those that worked with him and, in October, the club launched a new partnership, the Heart of West London, with a number of leading charities to improve heart health in the local community.
Together with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young, Resuscitation Council UK, Pablo London and A-K-A Day, the partnership will raise awareness of game-changing research to drive forward our knowledge of cardiovascular disease in target groups, helping to discover more effective treatments. It will also deliver education and training within our local communities around screenings for under-35s.