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Mepham: "Rob always had a smile on his face"

Defender Chris Mepham pays tribute to Robert Rowan, Brentford FC Technical Director

20 November 2018

Rob was such a warm-hearted guy. He had a big role at the Club and a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but he was always up for a laugh and could be a massive kid at times. Everyone gets stressed occasionally, but you never sensed it with Rob – he always had a smile on his face.

I’ve got so much to thank him for. I remember it was approaching one of the transfer windows and I’d played of lot of B Team football by this point – I would’ve been 18 or 19 at the time. I felt like it was the right stage to get out on loan and start playing competitive football. I was considering my options and needed to understand where the Club stood with me. I sat down with Rob and explained my thought process - I was adamant that I needed to head out on loan. He said: “Look, the Club has a plan for you. It’s hard to believe it now but we think you’ve got a really good chance of breaking through to the First Team. Give it time.” I remember walking away from that meeting feeling a little bit annoyed because I had my heart set on a loan move, but at the same time I never doubted what Rob said. I had a brilliant relationship with him and knew that he was a trustworthy person.

A couple of months later, Harlee Dean left for Birmingham. I remember being at the airport with Wales Under-21s – we were flying out to Switzerland for a game. I got a phone call from Rob who told me he had some good news. He said that the Club had been weighing up their options when it came to Harlee’s replacement, and felt that I was ready to step up and compete for a spot in the First Team. It was at that point that Rob told me the Club wanted to offer me a five-year contract. Looking back on my career so far, that’s one of the most significant moments and it was Rob who played a big part in the decision and broke the news to me. Everything he’d told me a couple of months earlier played out as he said it would.

Rob was always 100 per cent honest. I remember a B Team game against Man City at the Etihad Campus. I can’t remember the scoreline, but I know we lost - I think it might have been 5-2. Rob was there with Andy Scott watching the game. The following day I came in for training and he came up to me and asked me how I thought I’d played. I said that I didn’t have the best of games, he responded “You were f****** s***!” It didn’t come across as a dig – he always saw the funny side of things.

He was well respected among the football community; to achieve what he did by the age of 28 is unbelievable. He’ll be missed by everyone at Brentford.

Chris Mepham


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