What was your favourite memory from your time at Wigan?
I suppose from a personal point of view it has to be scoring at Wembley against Brentford in the Freight Rover Trophy, and then also helping to get the club into the Premier League when I was on the coaching staff under Paul Jewell.
How did Paul Jewell compare to the managers you played under while you were at Wigan?
Paul was very demanding, demanding of a strong work ethic everyday in training — the players had to work to their maximum and likewise the staff had to drive the players on to perform to their best.
He was similar to all the managers I worked with when I was at Wigan to be honest. The likes of Harry McNally, Brian Hamilton, Ray Mathias, John Deehan. I learnt a lot from all of them. The underlying factor from every one of them was that the work has to be done on the training ground day in day out just as it needs to be done on a matchday — play as you train, shall we say.
You mentioned John Deehan there, so do you remember half time against Bristol City in the 1990’s? Creatine was making you angry, wasn’t it?!
I do actually! [AGL breathes a sigh of relief] And allegedly it was making me angry, yes — or maybe I was just angry anyway! Myself and John Deehan had a bit of a fallout. He said I was at fault for Bristol’s first goal (supposedly ‘jibbed a friggin tackle’) and I didn’t think that was fair so I reacted. (Lowe was subbed at half time for answering back and Deehan kicked a kit bag at Lowe, rattling him with it). I think that showed that John had a lot of passion and it’s the same for me. I don’t think that having rows in the dressing room sometimes is a bad thing really. More than anything it just showed that he cared about the club and so did I. It was one of those things, he thought I was in the wrong and I disagreed.
At that time I was in my 30’s and as you get older you start to develop your own opinions on the game, but after that incident was over there were no hard feelings. When you’re working with someone on a regular basis you can’t afford to have that disrupt the spirit in the dressing room. I think I may have been dropped for the following game against Carlisle, although the game after I was straight back into the team up front.
When all is said and done I enjoyed my time under John, I really did. His coaching was good, his training sessions were enjoyable and I learnt a lot from him which has helped me in my coaching career.
Which spell at Wigan did you enjoy the most — first, second or third?
Hmm, good question [it’s about time AGL asked a decent question]. I suppose my first five years I enjoyed the most from a playing point of view because when I came back the second time I was coming towards the end of my career — so I didn’t enjoy it as much.
I came into playing football quite late because I had a trial when I was 16 and was fortunate enough to be offered an apprenticeship at Wigan. I was straight into training with men, seasoned pro’s like Graham Barrow, Alex Cribley and Colin Methvan so it was a sink or swim scenario for me. I really enjoyed it though and learnt an awful lot.
As I say, during my second spell my career was coming to an end and I’d obviously lost quite a bit of pace from when I was with the club the first time.
When I came back as a coach under Paul Jewell I really enjoyed it due to the amount of success we had during that period.
Let’s set it straight — who was better at tennis, yourself or Jimmy Bullard?
I was okay but Jimmy’s a lot younger than me. I thought I was a little bit better but obviously some people may disagree!
Paul Jewell and Jason Jarrett used to play a lot too. People don’t realise, these were great times off the pitch and away from football — all sorts of things went on during this era which developed the camaraderie between everyone.
How does it feel to have a perfect first team management record?
Well it feels great, I suppose — certainly against Manchester United! Maybe I may regret not going into management in years to come, I don’t know, but it was a tremendous experience. Albeit this was on the back of Paul Jewell and Chris Hutchens leaving Derby County which was very sad at the time because they brought me to Derby from Wigan, but I had a job to do as caretaker and we did the job on the night winning 1-0.