ARGYLE manager Ryan Lowe was keen to praise the generosity of club owner Simon Hallett, who has this week written off pre-existing loans to effectively leave the club debt-free.
Hallett, who is based in the United States, but is currently in Plymouth for a visit, had originally loaned the club the additional funding required to complete the Mayflower Grandstand redevelopment, but has now written off that £4m loan, converting it into shares, which takes his holding to 97%.
“When I met the chairman and he talked to me about the vision for the club, it was a no brainer,” said Lowe, recalling his first meeting with Argyle’s owner. “He ploughs £5m in for a new stand, takes the club debt-free, owns 97% of the club. That’s phenomenal.”
Nobody knows the importance of secure financial footing better than Ryan, whose previous club, Bury, was eventually expelled from the EFL after a monumental financial struggle.
“That’s one of the reasons I came here,” said Ryan. “With the situation that happened at Bury, I found myself in a situation I didn’t think I’d ever be in. One of my questions when I came to the interview was ‘how stable is the football club?’”
Despite the Atlantic Ocean separating them the majority of the time, Lowe is in constant contact with the chairman, whether it be by text message or Skype. He feels that they have a strong working relationship, and that, often, they will discuss other matters, including family life.
“I speak to him by text on a regular basis,” said Ryan. “We talk about family and stuff, and he makes sure that everything I need, I’ve got. We even talked about the new dug-outs!
“He’s over today, so I might catch him tonight or tomorrow. He’s coming to the game on Saturday, travelling with the fans on the bus. He’s a good guy, we don’t necessarily speak about football all the time. He wants what’s best for the football club, just the same as I do.”
Lowe feels that the open and communicative relationship he shares with the chairman is replicated with other key members of the Argyle leadership team, including Zac Newton, the club secretary, and chief executive Andrew Parkinson, who he travelled to Liverpool’s cup tie at MK Dons with on Wednesday night.
Ryan said: “It’s good that I have the relationship with him, Andrew [Parkinson, chief executive] and Zac [Newton, club secretary]. I went to the MK Dons game last night against Liverpool, and you’ve got to have these relationships – and that’s what we’re about.
“Simon won’t be here forever, wherever the club goes in the leagues, if it gets to the top level he might not be able to fund it, but ,in terms of what he’s doing for the football club, credit where credit is deserved. He’s been brilliant with me, with the staff, and put his money where his mouth is.
“A lot of football clubs are financially struggling, and he’s made sure this football club will not.”