SHAKERS homecoming hero Ryan Lowe has lifted the lid on his decision to quit his native Merseyside and return to the JD Stadium.
While there were jubilant scenes among Bury fans when it was announced the experienced striker had returned after three years in exile, it was quite a different matter among the supporters he left behind at Tranmere Rovers.
Liverpudlian Lowe had scored 20 goals for the Prenton Park club last season but could not stop them dropping into League Two.
The 35-year-old sobbed as relegation was confirmed with a defeat against Bradford City on the final day – and was hoping to talk with the club about an extension to his deal, which had 12 months left to run.
But when cost-cutting measures put a halt on negotiations, Lowe took up an offer from Bury, a decision which the striker revealed has led to a torrent of abuse from his former club’s fans.
“I had a great relationship with the fans there and it wasn’t easy to tame that decision but it’s football and they have been given a very substantial fee for me,” he told The Bolton News.
“I scored 20 goals for the club last season and was voted player of the year, so I leave with my head held high.
“The simple fact was that I wasn’t being rewarded when I wanted to stay a little longer.
“I’m a bit disappointed with some of the reactions on Twitter and such but I know it will blow over. It was hard to leave because I had made that connection with Tranmere being so close to Liverpool, it was only 10 minutes away for me.
“People are saying I went for ‘this or that’ but they can say what they want, to be honest. “As a footballer you make these decisions for lots of reasons but in this case when my friends and family knew I had a chance to go back to Bury they were willing me to do it – because it wasn’t just me that had a great time there. They can remember those good times, the promotion, the awards.
“If people want to know the real reason for going back to Bury it was to continue that and have those kind of feelings again.”
Lowe’s incredible 53 goals in 97 games helped fire the Shakers towards promotion in his first spell, and the 35-year-old admitted the lure of working again with David Flitcroft and close mates Chris Brass and Ben Futcher was too hard to resist.
He steps back into a club barely recogniseable from the one that was punching above its weight in League One before he left in 2011.
“I walked into the place the other day and there were people everywhere, busy with phones and scurrying backwards and forwards – it looks a lot more professional set-up now,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved the club I left behind but it’s clear they have raised the bar a bit.
“I spoke with the manager (David Flitcroft) and he was explaining how the chairman (Stewart Day) had sold the place to him.
“For him to come down to League Two after doing such a tremendous job at Barnsley – you’d imagine he could have stepped in again at Championship level or at least a big club in League One. It bodes well.
“There is a lot of quality in the squad – a lot of these lads could play at League One level comfortably already, so I can’t wait to get started.”