Ryan Lowe has been voted League Two’s best manager for 2018/19 season. Nine months of intense competition, 46 league games plus three cup competitions, with one involving youth Premier League sides.
So for the Bury boss to achieve the gong in his first season in full time management deserves some recognition, especially with a club who were scraping the barrel when he took over full time following on from League One relegation.
So with 38 games played and 71 league goals scored this season, the most in the division, with midfielder Jay O’Shea scoring 16 of them, both Lowe and Bury are leading the end of season honours list once again. With eight assists, Danny Mayor joins O’Shea on the ‘player of the season’ nomination list too, making it a very impressive night for the League Two side.
Yet although one can’t argue with appreciation, the fact awards are flying out during the ‘run in’ bit of the season, takes some credibility off the award.
Despite Ryan Lowe’s work on this side being deservedly lauded-Bury haven’t lost a league game since boxing day – it seems unfair to hand out the award as his sides end season position is yet to be decided.
If Bury somehow suffer a collapse in the final eight games and fail to seal promotion, then Lowe cannot be the League’s best manager. At least four would have achieved better than him in taking their respective teams out if the division, maybe five if a coach achieves the ‘great escape’, for example Sol Campbell at Macclesfield turning the tables in the final few weeks of the season.
All this is ‘ifs and buts’ of course. Bury ending the season with promotion would give Lowe as good as argument to deserve the award as any manager. You don’t score the quantity of goals or play a brand of football that Bury have on a regular basis, without a manager encouraging an expansive philosophy that the Shakers ex-striker has done so.
An outspoken admirer of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, Lowe has made no secret to the fact he wants his Bury side emulating the best English football has to offer. His latest individual success only increases his ever-growing reputation.
However, the fact he has this award before the season is up with promotion still not secure, he nor his side can start celebrating awards too greatly just yet.
Timings of these awards is of course out of Lowe’s control. As things stand he probably deserves it. For the EFL, it would all look a bit embarrassing if Bury didn’t get promoted now.