It was an emotional day, Friday 16th December 2022, the opening of the Robert Rowan Performance Centre. The entire Brentford FC staff, players and owner Matthew Benham were in attendance as well as Robert’s wife Suzanne, his Mum Jackie and other family members.
We were greeted by a smiling portrait of Robert at reception and were told later in his speech how Phil Giles feels that for him and others fortunate enough to know Robert, that walking past this every morning will make him smile, think of his friend but also be a reminder to make the most of every day. In addition to Phil’s speech, we also heard lovely words from Thomas Frank and Matthew Benham, who told us he used to chat to Rob almost every day, sometimes several times a day and had everyone nodding in agreement when he told how Rob was always such great fun to be with and the many, many times he has wanted to talk to him since. He closed by saying how proud Rob would be that his vision had come to fruition, Brentford being a solid Premier League club, and this facility is a great way to remember Rob.
Suzanne, as ever, delivered a heartfelt tribute expressing thanks for how much Robert had enjoyed being part of Brentford, was living his best life as part of such an amazing club and that as a wife and parent it was a real pleasure to watch. She noted that the best way to help someone who is grieving is to talk about their person, and that the honour and respect the club had shown and the fact that Robert’s name is still around and being talked about makes all the family so grateful. We miss him every single day but pleased and thankful to have this lasting legacy in his honour.
There was time for a drink, truly delicious appetisers, and a chat with everyone before a full tour of the spectacular training facility, with more stories of Robert on route. It was a privilege to be in attendance, talk to the many wonderful people who make Brentford such a special place and to hear how much of an impact Robert made on so many.
We reached the outside balcony just as the sun was setting on a very special day of remembering Robert, the club’s wonderful tribute to his memory and the performance centre which now bears his name.