Romford owner Glenn Tamplin: I was dead for two minutes... the Lord said to me, ‘Fulfil your purpose, son’
(In article talks about seeing Jesus. I was trying to talk to my wife and she was crying, but my body was downstairs and I couldn’t work out how I got upstairs, then the Lord held his hands and took me.)
November 27, 2019 - Reported [here]. Glenn Tamplin is unlike any character in football. The former owner of Billericay Town earned a reputation for being an extrovert, splashing tens of thousands a week on former Premier League stars such as Paul Konchesky, Jermaine Pennant and Jamie O’Hara, and appointing himself manager at the non-League club.
Now the 47-year-old is on a new mission to transform Romford FC, a club he bought this month, and the community surrounding it.
And in typically eccentric fashion, he will take a very different path at the club, who are bottom of the Isthmian League Division One North. On his first day, he sacked the manager and coaching staff, appointed himself as boss and signed 15 players.
The Essex millionaire, who made his fortune in steel, wants to use his remarkable life story to help everyone, from the homeless to former Premier League youngsters, whatever their ambitions may be.
Tamplin is driven by an extraordinary experience he had three years ago, when he says he met God. His life had been hit hard by cocaine addiction and depression and he was pronounced dead following an overdose, which led to an out-of-body experience that shaped his purpose.
I had a visitation and met the Lord,” says Tamplin. “I was dead for two-and-a-half minutes. People will say I am lying, but I had two paramedics say I was dead. I was talking to my wife and she was ignoring me, I couldn’t work it out, and then a bright light came behind me, like an ultra-light, and I met the Lord.
“I was trying to talk to my wife and she was crying, but my body was downstairs and I couldn’t work out how I got upstairs, then the Lord held his hands and took me, I started going out the back door and floating. What I will say is eternal life has been proven to me and it is beautiful and peaceful.
“I begged the Lord not to take me and he said to me, ‘Fulfil your purpose, son’.”
That experience has taken Tamplin to wanting to transform Romford FC, not just as a club, but as a community.
Through his Twitter account, he has called on supporters to bring any unwanted clothing, from coats to football boots, to this week’s two home games so they can be distributed to the homeless in Romford before Christmas.
TV cameras will follow Tamplin over two years for a documentary as he looks to show the real version of himself, not the man who gained the flash tag during his former footballing venture.
“I think what people have to realise is the reason I was very sick, I’m an addict,” he says. “The reason I was ill and in the darkness was I was always wearing masks, I never knew who I was. It was always false identities.
“The Lord saved me, I’m a firm believer in what you give you get back 10 times. I’ve been blessed and been through addiction, have been through the darkness because it’s for me to learn, not for me to be an ambassador, but to help people less fortunate.
“If someone hadn’t picked me out of the hole, put their hand up and picked me up, I wouldn’t be here today. I would have taken my life. I was at a stage where I wanted to take my life. I’d given up.
“So when an addict jumped in the hole and showed me the way out, I knew from that point when I got well that I was always going to have to lift people out of the hole. The community side is just as important to me as the football side, I’m not going to say it is more important because I’m an honest man. I am concentrating on the homeless at Christmas, on winning 24 games out of 24.
“My job is to get the Lord into people’s hearts. But because I believe in the Lord and I do right, doesn’t mean I’m a doormat, doesn’t mean I get walked over.”
During a cold Wednesday night training session, the new manager puts his squad, made up of non-League players, ex-offenders, a striker with Europa League experience at Liverpool and a star from The Only Way is Essex, through a lung-busting fitness test, the winner being rewarded with a goodie bag containing £6,500 worth of designer clothes.
His methods, it is fair to say, are unorthodox. At Billericay, he motivated players by getting them to sing R Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest” in the changing room before matches. And players at Romford FC are warned there will be a fine for anyone who calls him ‘gaffer’.
The aim is to reach the play-offs, already a tall order as Romford lost their first two games under Tamplin. But there will be no Jermaine Pennants this time.
“I’ve changed so much [since Billericay],” he said. “I don’t regret it, but it made me very sick and cost me a lot of money. Billericay was a circus because I spent so much money [£3million]. I paid what I call idiot tax. The difference is now I used to do things with my pocket, this is about me doing things with my heart. So people are seeing the real me.
Jesus is my Saviour. But I want to be like the saviour of the roads and the streets and I want to help people.”