Ryan Lowe

Ryan Thomas Lowe (born 18 September 1978) is an English football manager and former professional player, who is the current manager of League One club Plymouth Argyle. His playing career, as a striker, began at Burscough in 1999 and he became a Football League player with Shrewsbury Town the following year. He played for eight league clubs in all and had three spells at Bury. In the second half of the 2010–11 season, Lowe established a Bury club record by scoring a goal in each of nine consecutive league games.

Ryan Lowe
Lowe playing for Tranmere Rovers in 2013
Personal information
Full name Ryan Thomas Lowe[1]
Date of birth (1978-09-18) 18 September 1978 (age 42)[1]
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Height 5 ft 9.5 in (1.77 m)[2]
Position(s) Striker
Club information
Current team
Plymouth Argyle (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2000 Burscough
2000–2005 Shrewsbury Town 171 (32)
2005–2006 Chester City 40 (14)
2006–2008 Crewe Alexandra 64 (12)
2008Stockport County (loan) 4 (0)
2008–2009 Chester City 45 (16)
2009–2011 Bury 90 (49)
2011–2012 Sheffield Wednesday 26 (8)
2012–2013 Milton Keynes Dons 42 (11)
2013–2014 Tranmere Rovers 45 (19)
2014–2016 Bury 53 (15)
2015–2016Crewe Alexandra (loan) 6 (2)
2016–2017 Crewe Alexandra 22 (5)
2017–2018 Bury 18 (2)
Total 626 (185)
Teams managed
2017 Bury (caretaker)
2018 Bury (caretaker)
2018–2019 Bury
2019– Plymouth Argyle
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Lowe ended his playing career at Bury who had signed him again in January 2017, this time as player-coach. He became caretaker-manager twice in 2017–18 after first Lee Clark and then Chris Lucketti were sacked. Lowe retired from playing in March 2018 during his second caretaker appointment. In May 2018, despite their relegation to League Two, Bury offered Lowe the position of full-time manager on a two-year contract to the end of the 2019–20 season. After guiding the club to promotion back to League One, he left Bury on 5 June 2019 to take over at newly relegated Plymouth Argyle, managing them to an immediate return to League One.

Early years

Born in Liverpool, Merseyside,[1] Lowe played for Liverpool's youth team between 12 and 13, before breaking his ankle. He returned to the team aged 15 before again leaving the club. While at Liverpool, he formed a friendship with Steven Gerrard.[3]

After Liverpool, Lowe played with Southport's youth team and non–league Liverpool teams Sandon Dock and Waterlook Dock[4] before joining Burscough. He moved into the Football League with Shrewsbury Town in time for 2000–01.

Playing career

Shrewsbury Town and Chester City

After almost five years with the Shrews (which included a season in the Football Conference), Lowe switched to Football League Two side Chester City on 22 March 2005.[5] He spent a year at Chester, which included scoring twice in a shock FA Cup 3–0 win over Nottingham Forest on 3 December 2005[6] before leaving the club by mutual consent shortly after the return of manager Mark Wright.[7]

Crewe Alexandra

Lowe joined Football League One side Crewe Alexandra in time for 2006–07 season. He enjoyed a successful debut for the Railwaymen, scoring the opening goal; assisting David Vaughan's goal and earning the man of the match in Crewe's 2–2 draw with Northampton Town on 5 August 2006. Lowe continued his form over the first few games of the season, scoring a further two goals in late August. However, the arrival of Rodney Jack to the club saw him lose his starting place for much of September. He returned to the starting line up on 30 September 2006 against Carlisle United. Lowe scored his only hat-trick for Crewe as they ran out 5–1 winners at the Alexandra Stadium.

After spells in and out of the Crewe side, Lowe joined Stockport County on loan on 27 March 2008.[8] His transfer was not made permanent and he was not included in the side which clinched promotion in the play-off final against Rochdale at Wembley Stadium.

Return to Chester City

On 2 July 2008, Lowe returned to Chester on a two-year deal, becoming the club's fifth summer signing after Anthony Barry, Jay Harris, David Mannix and Paul Taylor.[9] Lowe scored twice including a penalty, in his first home game back for Chester against Leeds United in a 5–2 loss in the League Cup on 12 August 2008 and repeated the feat in a 5–1 thrashing of Barnet later in the month.

Lowe went on to comfortably finish as Chester's leading scorer with 18 goals (16 in the league), in a season which ended with the side suffering relegation from Football League Two. He received the club's player of the season award before the final match of the campaign against Darlington.[10] The following week it was announced Lowe had left Chester by mutual agreement, with several Football League clubs interested in signing him.[11]


On 10 June 2009, Bury confirmed the signing of Lowe on free transfer[12] Lowe scored his first goal for Bury on 18 August 2009 away at Hereford United in a 3–1 win. Also, Lowe scored in Bury's 1–0 victory over rivals Rochdale, in the fixture at Gigg Lane. He scored his 100th league goal on 9 October 2010, bagging a brace against local rivals Accrington Stanley.

At the beginning of the 2010–11 season, he was named vice-captain by Alan Knill. On 1 March 2011, Lowe broke a 53-year-old club record by scoring in eight consecutive league games in a 3–0 victory over Shrewsbury Town at the Greenhous Meadow. After a goal in the following 3–0 victory over Hereford on 5 March he extended the record to nine games. On 25 April he scored Bury's third in a 3–2 win over league leaders Chesterfield in the 87th minute, promoting his side to League One.[13]

Sheffield Wednesday

On 31 August 2011, Lowe joined Bury's fellow League One team Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed six figure fee.[14]

Milton Keynes Dons and Tranmere Rovers

On 1 August 2012, Lowe signed for League One side Milton Keynes Dons for an undisclosed fee and was signed on a two-year deal after limited chances at Hillsborough.[15] On 21 June 2013, Lowe agreed to cancel his Milton Keynes Dons contract[16] and agreed to join Tranmere Rovers on a free transfer with a two-year deal.[17]

Second contract with Bury

On 19 May 2014, Bury announced that they had re-signed Lowe on a two-year contract.[18]

Return to Crewe Alexandra

Ryan Lowe is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening goal for Crewe Alexandra in a 2–1 win at Stevenage (6 August 2016).

On 23 November 2015 Lowe rejoined his former club Crewe Alexandra on loan until 5 January 2016,[19] and in his first appearance scored a stoppage time winner at Colchester United.[20] He signed a new full contract with Crewe in May 2016,[21] and on 6 August made his third scoring Crewe debut with the first goal in a 2–1 win at Stevenage.[22] Three days later, Lowe scored both Crewe goals in a 2–1 League Cup tie win at Sheffield United.[23]

Player-coach at Bury

In January 2017, Lowe returned to Bury in a player-coach role.[24] Following the sacking of manager Lee Clark in October 2017, Lowe was appointed caretaker-manager, taking charge for Bury's FA Cup first-round tie at National League side Woking.[25] He remained in charge for six games (two wins, two draws, two defeats) until 22 November when Chris Lucketti was appointed Clark's successor, with Lowe becoming player-coach again.[26] In January 2018, after Lucketti was sacked, Lowe was again appointed caretaker-manager, this time until the end of the season, with Ryan Kidd as his assistant.[27] He decided to end his playing career to concentrate on management and coaching. His last match as a player was for Bury against Bristol Rovers on Friday, 30 March 2018 in League One.[28]

Managerial career


In May 2018, Lowe was appointed full-time manager of Bury on a two-year contract.[29] Bury had just been relegated and, to "sort out the mess of the previous season" and prepare for the 2018–19 season in EFL League Two, Lowe was very busy in the transfer market with eleven players being transferred out or released, and another eleven being transferred in, all of them on free transfers. He said that players who did not fulfil their potential had to go and be replaced by players with some passion who "could get bums off seats at Gigg Lane".[3]

After a shaky start to the season in which the new team found its feet, Bury had reached fourth place in the table when they travelled to promotion rivals Mansfield Town on Boxing Day. They lost that match and dropped to sixth place but then began an unbeaten run which firmly established them in the top three. In addition, Lowe led them to the semi-final stage of the EFL Trophy, Bury's best-ever showing in this tournament, before they were defeated by League One Portsmouth. In recognition of his success in turning the team around, Lowe was three times awarded the EFL League Two Manager of the Month award – in November 2018, January 2019 and February 2019.[30][31][32]

Plymouth Argyle

On 5 June 2019, Lowe was announced as manager of Plymouth Argyle,[33] guiding them to a third-place finish and an immediate return to League One in a season interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[34]

Style of management

Lowe's managerial style has been influenced by Jürgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Rafa Benítez and Lowe's long-time friend Steven Gerrard, among others.[3] He is attack-minded, and Bury in 2018-19 were one of the Football League's highest-scoring teams; their style, described as "gung-ho",[3] soon brought success as the club finished second in League Two and earned promotion back to League One.[35] Lowe explained in an interview with The Guardian that he wanted to instil a "winning philosophy" and that, by outscoring their opponents, Bury would have a greater chance of achieving that goal. The on-field strategy is effectively a 3-1-4-2 formation.[3]

Career statistics

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Other[lower-alpha 1] Total
Shrewsbury Town 2000–01[36] Third Division 304002010334
2001–02[37] Third Division 387000010397
2002–03[38] Third Division 41114010324913
2003–04[39] Football Conference 3691000313910
2004–05[40] League Two 389101020427
Total 17332604011519437
Chester City 2004–05[40] League Two 8400000084
2005–06[41] League Two 32102300003413
Total 40142300004217
Crewe Alexandra 2006–07[42] League One 3780021534412
2007–08[43] League One 274200011305
Total 64122021647417
Stockport County (loan) 2007–08[43] League Two 4000000040
Chester City 2008–09[44] League Two 45161012104818
Bury 2009–10[45] League Two 39181010204318
2010–11[46] League Two 46272110105028
2011–12[47] League One 5400230077
Total 904931433010053
Sheffield Wednesday 2011–12[47] League One 268410000309
Milton Keynes Dons 2012–13[48] League One 42116130005112
Tranmere Rovers 2013–14[49] League One 45192120105020
Bury 2014–15[50] League Two 3492011113811
2015–16[51] League One 196300000226
Total 53155011116017
Crewe Alexandra (loan) 2015–16[52] League One 6200000062
Crewe Alexandra 2016–17[52] League Two 225202221288
Bury 2016–17[52] League One 122000000122
2017–18[28] League One 6000200080
Total 182002000202
Career total 6271853371992511704214
  1. Includes appearances in the Football League Trophy.

Managerial statistics

As of match played 9 May 2021[53]
Team From To Record
Bury (caretaker) 30 October 2017[25] 22 November 2017 6 2 2 2 033.33
Bury 15 January 2018[27] 5 June 2019 75 32 21 22 042.67
Plymouth Argyle 5 June 2019[33] present 100 42 21 37 042.00
Totals 181 76 44 61 041.99



Sheffield Wednesday


Shrewsbury Town

Chester City



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  3. "Bury's Ryan Lowe: "Jürgen Klopp complimented me on my style and system"". The Guardian. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
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  18. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/34900920
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  33. "League One & League Two clubs vote to end seasons early". BBC Sport. 9 June 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  34. "Tables - League Two - England - Results, fixtures, tables and news - Soccerway".
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