Ex-players join mourners at funeral of former Chasetown FC manager

Mervyn Rowe

Mervyn Rowe

Former players joined family and friends as they said a final farewell to former Chasetown FC manager Mervyn Rowe.

His funeral at St Michael and All Angels Church in Tettenhall saw tributes from friends as hymns, including FA Cup anthem Abide With Me were played.

The former Grenadier Guard died the day before his 85th birthday after a lengthy battle with illness.

He managed Chasetown three times during his career, starting in 1986 before leaving for the final time in 2002.

Former Premier League referee Alan Wiley was among the mourners who heard Mervyn’s son Michael – who also had a spell in charge at The Scholars Ground – pay tribute to his father’s love of football in what he called “the final teamtalk”.

My memories of Mervyn…

I was lucky enough to have worked along Mervyn during his time at Chasetown FC before having the opportunity to interview him regularly in my first job in journalism.

He was a giant of a man in every sense of the word, his imposing frame at odds with his friendly nature. But the leadership skills acquired during a military career were never far away.

Whether it was getting the best out of average footballers or reminding better ones of the need for a team ethic, Mervyn was always striving for improvement.

It was during conversations with Mervyn that he made me believe I could achieve anything in my career – and when I did start to make inroads he was always quick to remind me of the part he played – and he also made me realise that there could be such a thing as a stupid question!

His knack of building a team spirit was evident when the dressing room banter often saw players trying to get one over on the man they knew as ‘The Duke’ – but a slight smile showed that, like a headmaster giving his pupils a bit of slack, the big man was always in control and could see the bigger battle plan.

As one of the many tributes yesterday said, what he might of occasionally lacked in tactical skills he more than made up for in inspiration, commitment and passion.

And as The Last Post played in church yesterday, Mervyn’s coffin – draped in the Union Jack and led by the standard of the Wolverhampton branch of the Grenadier Guards Regimental Association – friends, family, footballers and former soldiers were able to give him the send off he deserved.

Goodnight ‘The Duke’.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.