Steve Lynex

Former Player Remembers: Steve Lynex

As former Leicester City star Steve Lynex spoke to Club Historian John Hutchinson, the fans' favourite recalled fond memories of his time at Filbert Street.
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Steve played over 200 games for Leicester between 1981 and 1987, most of them in the top division. His rapid performances on the wing lit up Filbert Street.

In the three seasons between August 1982 and May 1985, his attacking partnership with Alan Smith and Gary Lineker produced an incredible 156 goals in three seasons.

Steve began by talking about his early days in football: “I went from school football to play Sunday League football for Sandwell Rangers.

“We won the league and Aston Villa tried to sign me, but West Brom became interested and I signed for them.

“I was a West Brom fan. As a boy, I used to sit on the wall behind the goal at The Hawthorns.

“Once, after Jeff Astle scored with a header, he came to the wall and picked me up. I didn’t wash for ages!”

In 1976, Steve was in West Bromwich Albion’s victorious FA Youth Cup team, defeating Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final.

“In the first leg I got injured by big Bob Hazell which put me out of the second leg,” Steve recalled.

“I hated him for ages! Years later, when we were both at Leicester, we travelled into Filbert Street together by car. He was a great guy.

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Steve Lynex

Steve remains an incredibly popular figure among the Blue Army.

“When I became a professional at West Brom, Johnny Giles was the manager, but with players like Laurie Cunningham at the club, he told me that first team opportunities would be limited.

“He released me, but within a week he had left West Brom and bought Shamrock Rovers. Then he phoned me up and invited me over there! I won the Irish Cup with Shamrock.”

In April 1979, Steve signed for Birmingham City and was in the side which, along with champions Leicester City, was promoted to the top division in 1980.

He signed for Jock Wallace’s Leicester City in February 1981. However, City were relegated at the end of the season.

Steve added: “Birmingham’s manager, Jim Smith, told me that the board had accepted an offer from Leicester. Going to Leicester was like going to a foreign country.

“Most of the lads were Scottish. It was great! I couldn’t understand a word, but what a great bunch of lads!

“They looked after you and you were part of the family. It was really, really good.

“It was easy to fit in. At the time they were looking for a certain style and I suited the team straightaway.”

We played more football. It worked really well. He (Gordon Milne) was a good manager. He was good at one-to-one. He had a lot of time for his players and protected them well.”

Steve Lynex

In his second season at Leicester, Steve was an ever-present in the FA Cup run to the semi-finals stage against Tottenham Hotspur.

“The atmosphere at Filbert Street for the quarter-final game against Shrewsbury was fantastic,” Steve remembered.

“It was end-to-end. We went behind, then Wally (goalkeeper Mark Wallington) was injured. Alan Young went into goal and he got injured. Then I went into goal.

“When Young felt better, Jock Wallace pulled me out. Straight after that, the ball came to me on the wing, I crossed it and Jimmy Melrose buried it. Fantastic! We won 5-2.

“We were really gutted to lose the semi-final against Spurs. I don’t think they were superior. Ian Wilson scored an own goal and Tommy Williams broke his leg.

“He was out for ages and, on his first day back training, he broke it again. He was a great player.”

Gordon Milne replaced Jock Wallace as manager in time for the new, promotion-winning season.

Steve reflected: “Jock had been all about being hard-working, grafting and aggression. Gordon wanted that too but he changed the style of play.

“We played more football. It worked really well. He was a good manager. He was good at one-to-one. He had a lot of time for his players and protected them well.”

During Milne’s first season, in a 6-0 victory over Carlisle United, Steve scored a hat-trick, which included two penalties.

He continued: “Gary (Lineker) had also got two goals and we were awarded a third penalty.

“If I’d have taken it, a hat-trick of penalties would have been a record, but Gary took it as he wanted his hat-trick too as he had already scored twice.

“Gary got the original matchball, not me, but I got another ball later. I don’t know where they got it from!”

I had that goal on video but my dad, bless him, taped over it! It’s a shame because I would like to have shown my lad!

Steve Lynex

Playing alongside Lineker and Alan Smith, Steve produced a lot of goals.

He continued: “One year we were the highest scoring forward line. We got 57 goals between us, in the top division. There were no big headed players in the team.

“It was all about the team. That is why it was easy for players to go to Leicester. The manager bought players to fit the position.

“We didn’t all have to adjust for one player. It all seemed to click at the time.

“We had some good players. Liverpool hated playing against us. I remember in a 3-3 draw at Filbert Street, I hit one straight over Bruce Grobbelaar.

“I had that goal on video but my dad, bless him, taped over it! It’s a shame because I would like to have shown my lad!”

Steve was voted Leicester City’s Player of the year in 1983/84.

Looking back, he said: “I was surprised at that. I was in the toilet when they announced that. When I came out Gary was on stage with the runners-up award.

“I thought he had won Player of the Year! When I went up for what I thought was the runners-up award I said I thought the best man had won the Player of the Year!

“I didn’t know until after I’d said this that it was me who had won. Everyone must have thought that I was a right big headed swine.”

As well as being renowned for his speed, Steve is also remembered for his penalty-taking expertise: “I think I scored 21 consecutive penalties until I missed one against Luton.

“I always put it in the same spot. I used to have a competition in training with Wally. I’d never miss and he used to save most of them! Good days.”

Bryan Hamilton became manager in June 1986, with Gordon Milne becoming general manager.

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Steve Lynex

Lynex's penalty record was fearsome.

Steve added: “I got Man of the Match in the first game of the season but the following Monday I was told by Bryan Hamilton that I wasn’t in his plans, so I went on loan back to Birmingham.

“I was playing well there, but Leicester’s results were not going too well so I was recalled to Filbert Street.

“In the end I went to see Gordon Milne because I was not seeing eye-to-eye with Bryan Hamilton. I was gone the next day. I signed for Ron Atkinson back at West Brom.

“The next season I scored for the Baggies against Leicester at The Hawthorns.”

Steve finished his league career at Cardiff City. Looking back over his career, Steve feels that his most difficult opponent was Nottingham Forest’s John Robertson.

He said: “If you closed him down he would do one touch. If you stood off him he would tear you apart. He was such a good player. Another difficult opponent was Stuart Pearce.

“When he first came to Coventry he smacked me straight off the pitch onto the wall. As he picked me up he said: ‘My name’s Stuart Pearce. Remember that!’

“Ten minutes later I did the same to him!”

Steve concluded: “My time at Leicester was my best time. The fans appreciated what I was doing and were fantastic towards me.”

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