Marcus Forss hailed the impact of Robert Rowan on his career after picking up a major award this week. Marcus, on loan at AFC Wimbledon, was named EFL Young Player of the Month for October. And in an interview after winning the prize he said he would be "forever grateful" to Robert Rowan, former Brentford FC Technical Director.
Robert died at the age of 28 after he suffered a fatal cardiomyopathy episode in the early hours of 12 November 2018. He went to bed the night before and died in his sleep. Robert had been Technical Director since February 2018 and had been with Brentford for just short of four years. He joined Brentford in late 2014 and was appointed as the Club’s Head of Football Operations in the summer of 2015. As well as managing the day-to-day football operations at Brentford’s Training Ground, Robert oversaw the strategic direction of Brentford B, the Club’s elite squad of players aged 17 to 21, before taking on the role of Technical Director.
When at the helm of Brentford B, Robert signed Marcus. The Finland striker had just left West Bromwich Albion and was snapped up by The Bees. He found the net 21 times and picked up the Mary Halder B Team Player of the Year Award at the end of his first campaign in West London. That form was rewarded at the time with a new contract and promotion to the First Team squad.
Marcus has since gone on to score on his First Team debut and break his duck at Sky Bet Championship level on the final day of last season. He moved on loan at AFC Wimbledon this season after signing a four-year contract and started with a bang, scoring seven goals for The Dons in his first seven League One games. That form earned him the award and he remembered the role played by Robert in his development.
"West Brom told me they didn't see me getting into the first team and I felt like I needed a change. Everything has fitted into place for me here," said Marcus, speaking to the BBC. "Rob was the guy who signed me and I am forever grateful to him for doing that and believing in me. He was always asking me how I was doing and I knew that if I needed anything he would help me. It's massive for any young player to have that. Knowing that someone believes in your abilities means so much."