Steve Rowley, Arsenal’s chief scout for the majority of Arsene Wenger’s tenure, has died at the age of 63 after a short illness the club have confirmed.
A member of the Gunners’ scouting operations from 1980 to 2017, Rowley helped discover Tony Adams and Ray Parlour during George Graham’s tenure before heading up a global network that lured the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Gael Clichy to London in the early noughties.
On Instagram, prior to drinking a Cobra beer in Steve’s honour, Parlour said: “My old scout. I was 11-years-old when I signed for Arsenal, he [Rowley] was always pestering my dad, ‘get him over to Arsenal’. Best decision I ever made getting to Arsenal. He helped me so much in my career. What a legend he was. Absolutely devastating news for Arsenal Football Club. I wouldn’t be where I was if it wasn’t for Steve Rowley.”
Fabregas also took to social media, stating: “What a sad day it is. A great man has left us, a true Arsenal legend. I don’t know where I would be today if you didn’t manage to convince Arsene to sign me at 16 years old. I will never forget your advices and the confidence you gave me everyday at London Colney. You will be greatly missed Steve. RIP.”
Francis Cagigao, who left Arsenal two years ago after years of working closely with Rowley, added: “My friend. A true football man. A true Arsenal man. Devastating news for all of us who knew him and loved the man. RIP Chief.”
Our thoughts are with Steve’s family and friends at this time.