TOM Kennedy believes Ryan Lowe’s hand was forced as he quit Gigg Lane to take over at Plymouth Argyle.

The former Bury full-back believes the manager explored every option he could to stay at the club after last season’s promotion but that the crippling financial situation made it impossible to stay.

Plymouth are rumoured to have paid £150,000 for the services of Lowe and his assistant Steven Schumacher.

Kennedy, now a part-time player and financial advisor after a 14-year professional playing career which included more than 150 appearances for the Shakers, reckons the decision would have been made with a heavy heart.

“Plymouth have targeted Lowey since the end of the season and have done everything they possibly could to get him,” he said.

“I know from a Bury point of view that he talked through options to try and stay at the club but it got to the sad situation where he was resigned to the fact that nothing was going to get solved at Bury and Plymouth put him into a position where they said ‘do you want to come or not?’

"It’s a great opportunity for him, I know he would have loved to stay at Bury but sometimes, like what happened with Nicky Adams, you have to put food on your family’s table. And in the end, he had to make the hard choice and go.

“It has been a heart-wrenching decision not only to move his family down there but leave a club he loves, he has an unbelievable relationship with the fans, everyone connected with Bury – but it shows the scale of the problems.

"He will be well aware of how bad things are and it’s looking like he couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel so he had to make the hard decision.”

Lowe guided Bury to automatic promotion from League Two despite financial issues creeping into the public arena during the final few months of the season and providing a distraction.

Numerous off-the-field issues have built-up since chairman Steve Dale took over from Stewart Day, including a winding-up petition and unpaid players and staff.

Kennedy hailed Lowe’s ability to keep things together on the pitch.

“I’ve got close friends still at Bury and they all say the same thing about him, the person he is, the manager that he is, and that has transpired all season with the morale and togetherness within the squad,” he said.

“It’s through the whole club. In adversity the players, the staff, the whole place got together to get themselves over the line, which is fantastic.”

In the light of Lowe’s departure, Bury could turn to youth team manager Ryan Kidd in the short-term to guide the club into pre-season.