IF, as Aesop suggested, you can judge someone by the company they keep, then – on that basis alone – Ryan Lowe’s tenure as Argyle manager promises much.
A lifelong friend of Rangers’ manager and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, Ryan’s first season in management, in charge of counter-attacking prolific Sky Bet League Two runners-up Bury, drew comparisons with the managers who won last season’s Champions’ League and Premier League.
“To be mentioned in the same breath as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola is phenomenal,” said Ryan. “They are special managers. If you can take any sort of advice or anything from them, then Argyle will be in a good place.”
The comparisons are fair in at least as much that Ryan has sought to learn, first hand, from Liverpool’s Klopp and Manchester City’s Guardiola, while also remaining steadfastly his own man.
He said: “I feel I have just got to be a little bit different to some managers, and that’s not being disrespectful to any other manager.
“I’m a players’ manager; I feel as though I’m a good man-manager. I’ll give the players everything they’ll possibly need; I’ll help them along the way, whether it’s family issues, whether it’s struggling with form. Because I know, eventually, they’ll give me it back.
“All I’ll ask for is 100 per cent effort on a Saturday or a Tuesday evening. There’s a big saying of mine that actions speak louder than words – just do it, don’t say it.”
When the Argyle Board of Directors began the process of finding a successor to Derek Adams, chairman Simon Hallett said that they were looking for “somebody who is forward-thinking, so a kind of modern football manager, not the old school kick-the-players-until-they-work-harder.”
Is that, then, how Ryan sees himself?
“I’m obviously a modern manager,” he said. “I’ve felt that me and Steven Schumacher, my assistant-manager, have not long finished playing so we know what the lads want and we know when they want it; we know the sessions we are going to give out; and it’s all built on winning on a Saturday or a Tuesday evening.
“We will have to be patient along the way. If the lads buy into what we are doing, they will be okay; if they don’t, they will be moved on, because we can’t wait. We have got to get lads who want to wear the shirt with pride and want to do the right things by the football club, and by me.”
As for the relationship with Gerrard, which saw Bury benefit last season from the loans of Rangers’ players Jordan Rossiter and Jamie Barjonas, lines of communications are open.
“I’m already in conversation with Steven at the moment regarding a potential friendly,” said Ryan.
“I know they are quite booked up but he said that if any dates come spare, we’ll be able to look at it.”