Tommy Lynch amazed by Shrewsbury Town fondness
Legendary former defender Tommy Lynch admits he is amazed by the receptions he receives from old club Shrewsbury Town.
The battling left-back represented Shrewsbury between 1990 and 1996, making 234 league appearances and was part of Fred Davies' Division Three title-winning side of 1993/94.
Limerick-born Lynch was inducted into Town's Hall of Fame in 2012 but says he has to 'pinch himself' by the warm welcome offered whenever he crosses the Irish Sea and returns to Shropshire.
The defender was signed for just £20,000 from Sunderland, where he had not found regular football, but quickly established himself as a Gay Meadow favourite for his whole-hearted and full-blooded displays, memories of Lynch thundering into challenges on wingers are inprinted into those who stood on the Riverside terrace.
In conversation with Radio Shropshire's Stuart Dunn, Lynch said: "I'll be honest I have to pinch myself when I go back because of the reception I get.
"I was fortunate enough with the Hall of Fame and then the 11 (greatest team) and mural at the back of the stand.
"Just to go back and people come up to you and talk to you. I have to be honest, all I did was go out and play. If I was playing for a Saturday league team I'd play exactly the same.
"I learned lessons from growing up and my time at Sunderland, because I didn't give it my all, and I thought that'll never happen again.
"I didn't commit to my time at Sunderland but you find your own playing level. I wouldn't change a thing.
"The great times at Shrewsbury, tough time at Sunderland and coming back to the League of Ireland, I wouldn't change a thing.
"You go and play to the best of your ability all the time. I would've played the exact same for a Saturday league team as I did with Shrewsbury Town and they just seemed to take to me.
"I go back every couple of years and it's great to get the reception I get. I was very fortunate and very lucky."
Lynch moved into player-management after leaving Town and guided Irish outfit Waterford to promotion from the First Division to the top flight in 1997/98.
Stepping away from football, he has since worked for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in Limerick.
But he has returned to Shropshire on a number of occasions since. Lynch was voted into Town's greatest ever XI with 54 per cent of votes in 2016.
The former hardy stopper recalls the successful 1993/94 campaign under caretaker boss Davies – where Town finished ahead of Chester with Mickey Brown and Dean Spink in full flow, as the most memorable in his playing days and also reserves a soft spot for his achievements as player-boss.
Lynch, after spending time injured, was a late sub in the 1996 Autowindscreens Shield final defeat against Rotherham in 1996, later expressing his frustration at not starting, while Davies admitted to mistakes in his selection.
"Oh absolutely," recalled Lynch when asked if the title-winning campaign is the fondest of his career.
"It's rivalled closely by when I came home to Waterford United, where we won the First Division here, it was huge as a player-manager.
"But as an out-and-out player the years at Shrewsbury were probably the best of my career.
"That was the icing on the cake, it was fantastic."