Brentford Football Club will be remembering Technical Director Robert Rowan today, two years after his death. 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 his wife 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. 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.
Robert’s route to Brentford was an unusual one in football terms. He got his first break after writing a scouting report on the 2008 UEFA Champions’ League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona and sending it, unsolicited, to clubs in England and Scotland. He got a few replies and was invited to a meeting with Celtic, aged 18, impressing enough to be offered a job working with their Under-21 side.
After a year at Celtic, some time with the Scottish FA and a coaching course at Elmwood College in Cupar, Fife, which enabled Robert to spend time in Sweden – doing enough to earn a six-month job with a local club, he ended up working in a bank. But Robert was soon offered a job as Sporting Director at Stenhousemuir and that brought him to the attention of Brentford. He was invited for an interview in August 2014 and met with Frank McParland, Mark Warburton and David Weir – the senior football staff at the time – before Brentford played at Blackpool and then headed straight back to work in the bank.
Brentford called again and by the end of 2014 he was the Club’s Scouting Coordinator. When there was a change in management in the summer of 2015, he was named Head of Football Operations and was at the forefront of the new Brentford B, created in the summer of 2016. He was promoted to Technical Director at the start of 2018, a role he held until his untimely death. Join us today in remembering Robert, as well as keeping Suzanne and their families in your thoughts.
Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. Since its formation in 1995, CRY has been working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). CRY – which has former player, manager and Chief Scout Andy Scott as a patron – supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by YSCD. For more information on CRY, click here and supporters can donate online in memory of Robert here.
Last year, we travelled to Scotland to talk to Robert’s family and friends about his life and legacy. See the film created below. You can also listen to the tributes played to Robert at his memorial service in December 2018 here.