THE local football world has been shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Gary Lowe, the former Curzon Ashton and Hyde United manager.
Gary, who was aged 61, collapsed at the bar in Quesada, Spain, in which he has a business partnership.
During 11 years as manager at Curzon, the club enjoyed some of its finest moments as he led them to the semi-finals of the FA Vase and victory against Exeter City in the first round of the FA Cup.
Later, Gary led Hyde to the National League North title and they began that campaign with a club record 10 straight wins.
“Gary will be missed for all those football memories but also by many, myself included, as a friend,” explained Harry Twamley, finance director and former chairman at Curzon Ashton.
Harry, a friend for more than 20 years, added: “Gary was full of life and his personality was such that when he came into a room you knew he was there.
“He exuded confidence in the nicest way and cared about people and he would help them personally.
“Gary was a great all-round bloke, and it was great to be in his company.”
Gary was the son of the late Doug Lowe, a former Ashton councillor, and a former pupil at Ashton Grammar School.
He excelled at football and was signed by Crystal Palace aged 17 and spent two years with the club.
After leaving Palace, midfielder Gary had six months at Manchester City, playing in the youth and reserve teams at both clubs.
Gary then had spells at Hereford United and Cheltenham Town.
Harry recalled him having a bad leg break which he said effectively end his days as a full-time professional.
He later played non-league for both Stalybridge Celtic, who had one minute’s applause in his memory before the home game against Basford United, and Hyde United.
Gary cut his managerial teeth at Woodley Sports, but it was at Curzon where he achieved his greatest successes which also included finishing runners-up in the league to FC United in two successive seasons.
He was appointed Hyde manager in 2011 and immediately led them to the National League North title.
Gary left at the end of the season. He was linked with prestigious jobs but never took one.
He returned to Hyde at the end of the 2014-15 season but too late to prevent relegation to Northern Premier League, premier division.
Hyde made a good start to the following campaign but fell away and he was sacked in the spring of 2016.
Gary, who had his own delivery business, then went to live in Spain where he was a partner in a bar.
Gary leaves son Benito, a semi-pro footballer, and daughter Zoe who presented him with his first grandchild in the week before his death.