Steve Rowley dead: Arsenal scouting legend dies at age of 63 after short illness

Arsenal have announced the death of former chief scout Steve Rowley, who has died after a short illness. The 63-year-old first started working with the club during the 1980s. And he spent time working under both Arsene Wenger and George Graham before retiring in 2017. 

Arsenal have released a statement on their official website revealing Rowley had passed away.

“Everyone at the Club is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our former Chief Scout Steve Rowley after a short illness,” it read.

“Steve, 63, had been associated with the Club since January 1980, when he began a part-time role in our youth scouting operations in Essex.

“Notable early successes in the identification of talent – including Tony Adams and Ray Parlour – led to a full-time position during George Graham’s time as manager.

“Upon his arrival in 1996, Arsene Wenger appointed Steve as our Chief Scout, a position he held until 2017.

“During four decades with the Club, Steve and his network of scouts were responsible for identifying and securing many players instrumental in on-pitch success for the Club.

“Our thoughts are with Steve’s family and friends at this time.

“Rest in peace, Steve.”

Rowley scouted Adams when the defender was just 11, with the England international later going on to become captain. Rowley enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Arsenal and played a key role during the club’s golden years under Wenger, for whom he served as chief scout from 1996 onwards.

At the time of his departure from the club in 2017, he headed up 15 scouts based in Britain – as well as talent-spotters in France, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Holland and Germany.

In 2015, he opened up on his role during a rare interview.

He said at the time: “I’ll usually take the boss’s interest about six or seven times during the season and I will say that at the moment there are some really good youngsters about.

“Whether the manger pursues it depends on what he wants.

“He does tell me what positions we need for example, then I will pass that information onto my scouts.

“But if we are talking about youngsters then he’s not too worried.

“Good players are good players, you shouldn’t worry about position.

“Then finally if the boss wants him in then it’s down to the money men to sort out the deal and my involvement is finished as far is the transfer is involved.”

Arsenal are likely to pay tribute to him in their next match against Chelsea on Wednesday. 

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