Reject who wouldn’t let his dream die

Wednesday signing  Ryan Lowe .
Wednesday signing Ryan Lowe .
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WHEN he was 19, Ryan Lowe was like many of the young players who have failed to make the grade at a league club.

WHEN he was 19, Ryan Lowe was like many of the young players who have failed to make the grade at a league club.

Rochdale v Sheffield Wednesday.....Owls Michael Morrison trails off at the final whistle

Rochdale v Sheffield Wednesday.....Owls Michael Morrison trails off at the final whistle

He went back to grassroots football.

But even when playing on Sundays in his home city of Liverpool he was fuelled by a burning desire to be a professional.

His rise began in the non-league game on Saturdays and he moved up to become a prolific scorer in the Football League

Now almost 33, he has arrived on the big stage of Hillsborough at an age when many players are beginning to wind down their careers.

His story could also be an inspiration to any young player

“I went all over when I was I was young: Liverpool, Tranmere, and all the way across to Hull. It didn’t quite work out,” said the Owls’ new £100,000 striker.

“I went back to grass-roots level, and played non-league football for Burscough and Southport.”

At one stage he was playing on Sundays for a Liverpool team called the Sandon Dock and on Saturdays for Lancashire non-league team Burscough.

“Eventually I went back to Tranmere and to Everton, It was Everton who recommended me to Kevin Ratcliffe [former Toffees star] at Shrewbury.”

He was 22 when he left Burscough and signed his first professional contract, at Meadow Lane.

“I was just so pleased to get the nod to be a professional,” he said.

“Maybe I wasn’t quite as good in the early years. As you get older you learn more.

“People may say I’m nearly 33 [on September 18], but I’m still hungry, and at this big club I want to test myself at the highest possible level I can achieve.”

“All credit to the own

er, the manager and everybody involved for making it possible for me to be here.

“It’s not often you see the sort of thing that’s happened to me.

“All I can do is to try to repay the club for what they have done for me, and hopefully that will be with my goals and performances.

“”I don’t think anyone is ever too old to play at a higher level, and you can’t be too young if you’re good enough.”

Lowe, who is set for his debut at Charlton tonight, has proved himself at Shrewsbury, Chester, Crewe and Bury.

Of most relevance to Wednesday is his record of 53 goals in 100 appearance for the Shakers over the last two years, including one last Saturday with a 30-yard free-kick against Charlton, which took his tally for this season to seven already.

The striker also won acclaim from his fellow professionals last season when he won a place in the PFA’s League Two team of the year.

He believes that other players could emulate what he has achieved.

“There were other good players around Liverpool. It seemed they didn’t want it enough. It was just my ambition to play professional football, whether it be semi-pro, the second or third divisions, or the Championship,” he said.

“I kept fit and worked hard and always knew I’d prove a few people wrong. I’ve done that.

“What a place to come to: a massive club with massive expectations, which is tough, because when you’re at a club like this everyone wants that bit of silverware straight away.

“Obviously it takes time. But if I can help in any way I’m more than happy to do that.”

Lowe, a Liverpool fan, has never forgotten his roots: “The Sandon Dock have folded now but until a couple of years ago i used to go and watch them on a Sunday.

“I remember where I come from. There are players out there who, I believe, could do what I’ve done.”