The untimely death of Rob Scully on 12th January has robbed Bracknell Town of one of its greatest servants, Berkshire football of one of its biggest personalities and me of an old friend. Rob was best known as the multi-award winning Editor of the Robins Review, but there was so much more to him than that.
Rob and I became friends in 1998, when I joined Bracknell Town as the club’s new Reserve Team Secretary, but we’d met long before that. You see, Rob was so football-daft that even when Bracknell weren’t playing, he and Town’s then-Chairman, Dave Mihell, would turn up at other clubs’ matches.
Before I joined Bracknell, I’d been involved at Egham Town for a number of years and I’d often see Rob and Dave watching the Sarnies. Despite being on the opposite sides of North London’s football divide – Rob was nearly as fanatical about Arsenal as he was about Bracknell Town, Dave a Spurs fan – they were great friends and well-respected within local football. It was Dave Mihell who invited me to help out at Larges Lane, but it was Rob who went out of his way to welcome me to the club.
Except, almost no-one called him ‘Rob’ in those days. In the same way that Madonna goes by her first name, so pretty much everyone knew this gentle giant of a man only as ‘Scully’. Scully was already 14 years into his mammoth stint as Bracknell’s Programme Editor, having put his first issue together as a teenager. I was only 18 myself when I arrived at Larges Lane and we bonded quickly over football and a shared passion for music. We went to a few gigs in London together and Scully being a little older than me – and about a foot taller – helped me to stay out of trouble in the Big Smoke!
There was no-one who knew more about Bracknell Town than Scully. He kept meticulous statistical records, which he then incorporated into the programme. But the Robins Review was much more than a collection of numbers. Scully would pack each issue with news from around the club, the latest happenings at Bayer Leverkusen (Bracknell and Leverkusen being twin towns) and articles; some original, others from magazines like When Saturday Comes. He would spend up to 24 hours compiling each issue but that established the Robins Review as one of the best programmes in non-League football.
Although I left Bracknell Town in 2005 due to work commitments, I stayed involved in football and joined Ashford Town (Middlesex) in January 2007. The two clubs met regularly over the next few years, particularly in pre-season and my friendship with Rob endured. Every time we saw each other at a game, it was like no time had passed at all.
Personal circumstances forced Rob to hand over Editorial duties at the end of 2014, with the Robins Review passing into the hands of Football in Berkshire’s own Tom Canning. By then, Scully had produced close to 1,000 issues, as well as serving as the club’s Match Secretary and helping Bracknell Town in countless other ways.
I hadn’t seen Rob in a few years – moving to the North West had a lot to do with that – but when I learned he’d passed away, I was distraught. Because as well as being a good friend to me, he’d taught me a lot about what makes a good programme. In Rob’s final full season as Editor, 2012-13, the Robins Review was ranked 10th in the country in the annual Soccer Club Swap Shop awards. By coincidence, I picked up a Merit Award for the Middlesex Senior Cup Final programme that season, having put it together the same way Scully compiled his issues – by putting my heart and soul into it.
Rob Scully was a football man who devoted himself to his home town club. He will be missed by his family, friends and the wider non-League community, in Berkshire and beyond.
Rob Scully’s funeral is to be held at Easthampstead Park Crematorium on Wednesday 8th February at 1:30pm with well-wishers welcome. Anyone coming along is requested to wear something red with their outfit as a tribute to Rob’s love of Arsenal and The Robins.
If anyone would like to make a donation in Rob’s memory, the family are raising money for The British Heart Foundation here.