HE DIDN’T reach the top as a player, but it’s given Ryan Lowe extra motivation to go all the way as a manager.
And if his opening few years as a boss are anything to go by, you wouldn’t bet against him doing just that.
A prolific lower league marksman in his playing days, the current Plymouth Argyle supremo cut his managerial teeth at Bury, where he enjoyed three spells as a player. You can view the markets available on Plymouth and the rest of the EFL with these football betting sites.
Twice caretaker-manager in the Shakers’ nightmare 2017-18 season, he couldn’t stave off relegation from League One. But it was a sign of how well he had done in difficult circumstances that he was appointed full-time manager that summer.
Twelve months later Lowe was celebrating his first promotion as a manager, guiding Bury back to League One at the first attempt. As we all know, it wasn’t the start of a bright new era for the Shakers. Their financial turmoil eventually saw them booted out of the EFL before they could kick a ball the following season.
Lowe’s work hadn’t gone unnoticed, though, and he was swiftly snapped up by Plymouth. He made it two promotions in his first two full seasons as a manager as he led the Pilgrims back to League One last term. Some managers never bag two promotions in their whole career so it’s no wonder Lowe’s stock is on the rise.
And this time around, he’s enjoying the chance to show what he can do at third tier level with the West Country outfit.
“I’m loving it,” said the 42-year-old Liverpudlian. “The Bury situation was totally different – I had to leave and, sadly, the club didn’t continue.
“To then come to a great club like Plymouth Argyle and get them back in League One, I’m loving every minute of it. It’s a challenge every day, but it’s a challenge I relish and look forward to.
“It’s important when you go to a club that it’s the right fit and Plymouth was certainly the right fit for me and my staff. We have been left alone to do our work on the training pitch, whereas at some clubs you have certain people around who try to dictate things.
“If I can keep learning at Plymouth Argyle, then hopefully the club can go on to bigger and better things – the potential is massive. I’m not chasing the money, I’m chasing the dream.”
That dream is to go as far as he can in management. A playing career than saw him hit more than 200 goals in 700-odd games over two decades is a fine achievement, but it does rankle slightly that he never got the chance to show what he could do in the upper echelons of the game. So does that give him extra fuel for the fire as a manager?
“Definitely,” said the former Shrewsbury, Chester and Crewe hitman. “I was unfortunate as a youngster, I didn’t get the opportunity with big clubs like Liverpool and Everton and I had to work my way up from the Non-League ranks.
“I wanted to do the best I could and I was promoted to the Championship (with Sheffield Wednesday) and then got moved on. Virtually my whole career was in Leagues One and Two and I scored a lot of goals, but as a manager I’m ambitious to be in League One, the Championship and then, who knows, get a chance in the Premier League.
“I’m at a club that could one day get to the Premier League, but it’s important to take each step as it comes and to finish the season in a job! You have to keep learning and picking the brains of other managers.”
His Plymouth side have made a promising start to life in League One. At the time of writing, they had lost just two of their opening 11 games and were sitting inside the top ten.
“We are more than happy,” he admitted. “We have come into a difficult league with a lot of good sides, managers and players. We have had to adapt a little bit, be a little more compact out of possession, but we still want to play on the front foot.
“We have lost two, but every game we’ve been in it and we’ve probably surprised one or two along the way. This year is about sustaining League One football certainly and then we can see where we can get to.”