Tommy Rowe reveals driving force behind 'coming home' to Doncaster Rovers
The return of Tommy Rowe has brought plenty of delight for Doncaster Rovers supporters.
And it turns out they should be thankful to a junior member of the Rowe clan for his Keepmoat comeback.
The 32-year-old’s return to the club after two years away got the thumbs up from his son Jesse thanks to fond memories of his previous spell.
For Rowe, rejoining Rovers presented him with the perfect all-round package at this particular stage of his impressive career.
“My son starts school in September, in Year 7, and he’ll want to be settled,” he told the Free Press.
“To be honest, he was the driving force in me coming back here.
“Given the choice of the clubs on the table, for him, Doncaster Rovers were number one.
“It wasn’t just because of the location but it was about coming to games too. He used to come to games with his mum and his sister.
“He just remembers great memories.
“That’s not a throwaway line - that’s my family as fans, who love to come to the stadium and be part of the team, being around on matchday.“So when I say it’s great to have the fans back, I can say that from the bottom of my heart because for those three years my family were fans too and it will be great to see them there again on matchdays.
“I think it’s where I’m coming from.”
It is clear the former Rovers skipper could have earned more money had he moved elsewhere on his departure from Championship side Bristol City.
But happiness was a much more important factor for Rowe when making the decision over his next employers.
So fond memories coupled well with the vision presented to him by new boss Richie Wellens and led him back to the Keepmoat.
“Holistically, you look at the package and there was more on offer than at any other club,” he said.
“It doesn’t come down to money. There was a certain amount that I had to consider, getting older.
“But for me I believe you make your own luck in football and in life. Sometimes you get the rub of the green and others you don’t.
“I wouldn’t be confined by the finances of a move.
“If I’m not happy, if I’m going somewhere and I’m not going to play, if I’m going somewhere and I’m not going to be competitive, or I’m not part of something, it has no meaning for me.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an emotional person in terms of football but I like to do things the right way in terms of training. It comes at a premium for me and I have to be out there, I hate missing it. “I hate missing games.
“First and foremost, it’s about playing football.
“We have to make a living and we have to go about it the right way but I came here for the right reasons, I believe, and I’ll always stick by that.”
The relationship between Rovers and Rowe was always a profitable one. He was a marquee signing following relegation to League Two and was a major driving force behind the immediate return to the third tier.
In his final season, as skipper, he provided plenty of class in the run to the play-offs, including an incredible performance in the second leg at Charlton Athletic.
“It was probably the most prolific part of my career, the three years at Doncaster and the loan as well,” Rowe said.
“It all came down to a combination of, in the time I was playing, being in a position that allowed me to get forward and also playing in a competitive team.
“I enjoyed a good spell and ‘coming home’ is definitely the feeling for me.
“Speaking to Copps and Graham [Younger, talent ID head] initially about coming back, I had that feeling and it was the same when I was driving down for my medical and coming back to the stadium.
“My immediate thoughts at the end of last season were always to try and find out about the possibility of things.
“But to get the call and get the chase was fantastic for me.
“I think that set the pace for the delivery of my decision-making early on. It made me take a step back and realise what was important to me at this part of my career.
“I’m glad to have made the decision I have.”
Being happy and comfortable is one thing for Rowe, but he is determined to be a part of a competitive team for as long as his career continues.
And he was more than convinced that could be the case at Rovers.
“What has driven me over the past four or five years has been trying to play at the highest level possible,” he said.
“I’m getting older but I know I can play for another seven or eight years - or at least I hope I can, and stay clear of injuries.
“When you are getting older, you want to push yourself even more. You don’t take things for granted and playing at the highest level you can should be the standard.
“And if not, can you push the group and the team on to somewhere you want to get.
“All sorts of things come into consideration when you leave a club but when you’ve got to take time out, you see that most clubs have projects or plans.
“What’s important is finding the one where you see yourself fitting in the most.
“Meeting the manager here, that was a big thing. The support I received from that meeting was incredible and it swayed my decision in the end.”