Godolphin role was perfect grounding for Argyle coach
Godolphin role was perfect grounding for Argyle coach
Jamie Lowry during his playing days at Plymouth Argyle
31st March 2021
By Tom Howe
Having played for the likes of Chesterfield, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle, the name Jamie Lowry is synonymous in football circles up and down the country.
‘Obsessed with football’ from a young age, Lowry was constantly kicking a ball around with younger brother, Phil, before joining his local side, Newquay, at under-11 level.
Recommended to Chesterfield by his grandad, who was friends with the club chairman, Lowry signed a two-year professional contract upon completing his youth scholarship in 2006. The first of 122 Spireite appearances came in a famous 2-1 League Cup win over top-flight giants West Ham on October 26.
A cruciate knee ligament suffered in October 2009 interrupted his rapid progress. After the best part of 16 months sidelined, Lowry returned to action with the Derbyshire club while also spending time on loan at Crewe in order to build up fitness and form. Having won the Football League Trophy, Lowry signed for Plymouth Argyle upon his release from Chesterfield but, sadly, injuries continued to take their toll.
He made just 11 outings for the Pilgrims during the 2012-13 before dropping out of the elite game and representing the likes of Tiverton Town, Truro City and local side Godolphin Atlantic, where he took on the role of player-manager in 2016-17. It was the first steps towards the next stage of Lowry’s career, one which began in September 2015 when he became head of the football academy at Bodmin College.
“Plymouth were in a bit of a difficult position in the league and wanted to stay away from relegation,” Lowry told the Voice. “They offered me a deal but I had a clause in my contract that meant they could terminate my contract [depending on injuries]. It was obviously a risk but I felt fine, the knee felt fine. It was back at home, a big club, close to family and friends again. I ended up signing there and I was delighted. Then, in the second friendly, away at Truro, I ruptured my ankle ligaments which wasn’t the best start.
“You can see what a big part of the city Argyle is. I used to go to Plymouth games because they were quite local and I knew about the club but I didn’t realise how much of a sleeping giant it is and how much of an impact it has on the area. They were such great people and I have made some really good friends there that I’m still in contact with now. It was an honour to represent the club, even if it was only for a small amount of games. Being there for that season was a real honour.
“My knee injury meant it was too much to play at a professional level and train everyday. I just couldn’t do it anymore so I decided to stop playing and call it a day. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t really have a plan but after discussions with specialists and physios, it was best to call it a day on the professional side.
“Tiverton’s manager at the time asked what my plans were and if I wanted to come and sign. I wasn’t really interested if I’m honest. I had lots of injuries and was finding it tough. I had lost a bit of love for the game if I am totally honest. I said I would go and play a couple of games and after that we could sit down and talk. I played a couple of games but I just wasn’t interested in the travelling. If I do something I want to give my all and it just wasn’t right for me to go there.”
Lowry continued: “Derek Martin [at Godolphin] said while I sort myself out, did I want to come and play a couple of games for Godolphin. Playing with my brother and my best mates, I fell in love with the game again. I really enjoyed it.
“Then Glynn Hooper, who I knew from when I was a kid, who was the assistant to Steve Massey at Truro City, contacted me. They were trying to go in the right direction with local players. There were a few guys from Argyle there like Jared Sims and Ollie Chenoweth.
“It was really nice. It is a good club and there are lots of good people there. I made lots of good friends but it became difficult with the travelling and. at the level of football that it is, it is a big ask.
“You need lots of dedication and need to buy into it. I just wanted to be happy, enjoy football more and be at home.
“I eventually had my knee reconstructed again for the third time. As part of my development, I really enjoyed the idea of coaching, knowing I was going to be out for the whole season.
“I wanted to help [Godolphin] either assisting, managing or whatever.
“It gave me a real good insight into all the things you have to deal with as a coach and a manager. It was a great experience managing my friends and things. It was different but these are experiences that helped me on my coaching journey and gave me a good insight into the football world after playing.
“Later, I played a couple of games for Torquay in pre-season friendlies. I was about 27 or 28 after my operation and was going through rehab. It was more about seeing if there was anything out there while I felt good and before I got into my 30s.
“I played a couple of games locally but it made me realise that perhaps it was time for the next step and what that next step was going to be. My knee didn’t feel like it did before the injuries. It’s such a hard, intense and demanding sport. The intensity of the physical demands that you put yourself on your body and psychologically as well, it’s really tough.”
After leaving Bodmin College, the 33-year-old, who today makes the odd appearance for Plymouth Parkway when called upon, has since moved back to Argyle, transitioning from under-12s academy coach to development phase co-ordinator (U12-U16) and now professional phase lead (U15-U23).
Lowry is eager to keep absorbing as much information as he can while at Argyle and give something back to a sport that has provided him with so much over the course of more than two decades.
“I want to keep developing,” he concluded.
“I am still a young pup in terms of coaching and development but I am working with a lot of great people and being around the first-team is brilliant.
“I am working with Darren Way (under-18s manager) and learning so much from him and the gaffer (Ryan Lowe – first-team manager) and Schuey (Steven Schumacher – assistant manager). It is a really good place to be at the moment.”