[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Something Special
Gaffer Galvanised by Green Army
THE news last week that Ryan Lowe had been appointed Argyle’s 36th manager since the Pilgrims turned professional in 1903 was followed by several weeks of that 21st century phenomenon of fake news. Brian Wake, anyone?
After Ryan’s name was mentioned, and as the time that the Pilgrims were without a manager grew longer, the internet experts weighed in with the baseless opinion that the Liverpudlian who had never played further south than Milton Keynes during a prolific career as a lower league forward did not want to come to Plymouth.
Let us, then, hear from the man himself.
Ryan said: “When I got the call, I thought ‘Plymouth Argyle – what a massive club that is’, the fan-base, everything about it. Yes, it’s the other end of the country, but it didn’t matter.
“These opportunities don’t come around much and I felt that it was one that I wanted to take. It was a big decision in terms of family but the football decision was made straight way. Once I knew they were interested, it was a case of ‘Right let’s go’.
“Once the contract was offered and they said they wanted me to be manager, there was a big smile. I feel it is a great opportunity to take this club back where it belongs.”
The first step on that journey will be to try to replicate what he did with Bury last season and win promotion back to League One at the first attempt after a previous season’s relegation.
He said: “I’ve got ambitions of managing as high as I possibly can – some people may think this is a step backwards but I’ve taken a step backwards to take two steps forward and, when a football club like Argyle comes calling for you, you can’t say ‘no’.
“As a player, I was fortunate enough to play local but, as a manger, it’s different, you have to go where you feel you are going to be successful, and you have got to go to the right club. Argyle is certainly the right club.”
One factor which did slightly elongate the process of Ryan’s appointment, and that of his assistant-manager Steve Schumacher, was their position with former club Bury, and the club’s shaky financial situation.
He said: “I had to respect my previous club, Bury. I’ve got a big place in my heart for them. It is a shame what’s going on. We had to respect Bury’s situation and we had to do things properly.
“Once the ink was dry on the paper, it was a case of ‘Right, let’s get to work’ and we have been working constantly.
“We’re speaking to players every single day, and agents are forever ringing you. It’s good that I have got players ringing me personally, saying that they want to come and play for Argyle. They know all about the club, the fan-base, everything else about it. They want to be a part of it, which is nice.
“So the rebuilding programme has started. We’ll get there in the end but there will be a few weeks to take stock and see where we’re at.
“Also, there are a lot of good football players at this club already, contracted, and they will be getting a chance to shine and show what they are capable of doing, and if they do it, they will be staying around.”
Although Ryan’s squad is far from fully formed, he has already assigned one of the shirt numbers.
“I know the fan-base is massive, the Green Army,” he said.
“I found a programme from the last time Bury played at Home Park. There was a number 12 missing and I remember thinking: ‘Why is the number 12 missing?’ It was the Green Army, and that’s what we’ll need.
“I’ll wrap myself up in it; I’ll galvanise myself in the history of the football club.
“With the fan-base we have got, it is going to be something special and I’m really looking forward to it.”Bringing the Good Times
Ryan Lowe's Argyle Ambitions
IT was not so long ago, when Argyle were emerging from the ravages of administration, that a Home Park victory was heralded by a post-win playing of a song by 1960s group, Love Affair.
If Ryan Lowe has his way, the Green Army might just be singing along to it again, as the new Pilgrims’ manager attempts to extinguish the disappointments of last season’s relegation to Sky Bet League Two.
“We’re definitely going to bring the good times,” said Ryan.
“I said that last year, after I took over Bury. I want to bring the good times back, on and off the pitch.
“We’ll be as one, it won’t just be me, the manager; Steve [Schumacher], my assistant; and the coaching staff and the players – we will all be together.
“If we want to be successful, that’s what happens. Most teams that are successful have got that togetherness – they galvanise each other and pull each other through, and that’s what we’ll be certainly doing.
“The relegation’s probably hit a lot of people hard but one thing I can tell you is we’re here to bring the good times back.”
The good times at Bury, in Ryan’s first full season as a gaffer, were predicated on an expansive, forward-looking style of play that propelled the Greater Manchester side to runners-up spot in League Two. Argyle’s players and fans can expect more of the same this season.
“That’s what we are going to implement,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to more or less all the players now – there’s one or two I haven’t been able to catch – and they are excited. I have told them what we are going to be doing and how we are going to do it.
“We scored plenty of goals [at Bury] – I think it was 105 goals in all competitions. We’d like to keep the backdoor shut a little bit more, if we can, but, with exciting football, that’s what happens and that’s what we’re looking to install.
“The 90 per cent of the lads that I have spoken to already are excited. They have heard good things about us, and I have said that they will love the training and love the way we are with them.
“But we don’t take kindness for a weakness. When we’re working, we’re ruthless. We want to get a result on a Saturday or a Tuesday evening – and that is the key – but, if the lads buy into what we are about, we’ll be okay.
“We are going to try to play a nice brand of brand of football; we are hopefully going to score goals; we want to get the fans excited because that’s a big part of me – I have always had a relationship with fans [of clubs] I’ve played for; it’s not going to be any different as a manager.”
So good times, and a good chance of a second successive promotion from League Two for the new man?
Ryan said: “Look, I don’t want to sit here saying we are going to do this and we are going to do that because you’re easily pushed right down if you don’t do it, but I can guarantee passion, effort and commitment, and good football.
“I am sure when you have all those rolled into one, there is only one way you are going and that is that you are going to be fighting for something special.
“That’s going to be the aim.”