FORMER Fir Park favourite Mark Reynolds has said that he would love to be involved in Motherwell’s upcoming foray into the Champions League.
The 25-year-old Motherwell-born centre-half conceded that competing against Europe’s elite in the claret and amber would complete his Fir Park checklist.
The Sheffield Wednesday stopper – who made over 200 appearances in his six years at Motherwell – played for the Steelmen in the Europa League and was part of the squad that finished ‘best-of-the-rest’ in the SPL in 2008.
However, in an exclusive interview with the Wishaw Press, Reynolds has now admitted that representing Motherwell in the Champions League would have been his crowning achievement at the club, and was the one box that remained unchecked when he left the club last year.
The former Scotland under-21 international – who will return to Sheffield Wednesday this summer after five months on loan at Aberdeen – feels his beloved ’Well have been denied due acclaim by Scottish pundits, and used his conversation with the Wishaw Press to lavish praise on Stuart McCall’s squad, whose qualification for European football’s richest competition he feels many just dismiss as the club “punching above their weight”.
While refusing to rule out a return ‘home’ sometime later in his career, Reynolds congratulated his former team-mates and admitted that he’d ‘love’ to be involved when the club square up to European competition in July.
He said: “Qualifying for the Champions League is an absolutely massive achievement – I’m delighted for the club. I’ve spoken to a lot of Motherwell fans in and around the town and they’ve all said that they never expected they’d be seeing Champions League football at Motherwell, but it’s something the boys deserve. They led from the front in terms of sitting third or sometimes second for most of the season, so no-one can say that they don’t deserve it.
“I would love to play for Motherwell in the Champions League. It’s one of the things I obviously never ticked off on my list of things to do, but it’s never something I thought we’d be capable of. I’m still very happy with everything I did at Motherwell – I managed to play in Europe, I managed to finish third in the league – I knew it was just time to move on. I’m still absolutely delighted for the boys and, hopefully, I’ll get up to see a game or two if I can fix it round my own schedule.
“In terms of budget Motherwell are probably not even in the top six of the clubs in the league yet in the last four or five years they’ve always comfortably been in the top six, so it is a huge achievement.
“If a club that size down in England had done something of the same level we would be talking about it for a long time to come.
“Motherwell are a special club and I think everybody that’s involved with them and the fans who follow them closely know that there is something special about the club and that they’ve not really got the plaudits they’ve deserved during the last few years. People are always talking about them punching above their weight, that’s a problem. They consistently do it yet the pundits keep repeating it instead of saying that they’re a good solid side playing well and they are getting good results because of that.”
The defender– who weds fiancée Laura this weekend – will head back down south for pre-season training with newly-promoted Championship side Sheffield Wednesday later this month, keen to make an impression on the former Cardiff City boss Dave Jones who replaced Gary Megson in the Hillsborough hot-seat in March.
However, he has refused to rule out a return to Fir Park in years to come.
He said: “You never know where your future lies, you just need to take it a year at a time. I’ll go back down south and see what happens and see where my career goes from there.
“I want to just try and force myself into the team. Obviously we’ve been promoted to the Championship and there’s a new manager come in, but I’ll go down for pre-season and take it from there.
“The whole reason I signed for Sheffield Wednesday was because of the size of the club and because they were always going to be in the Championship sooner rather than later. If you look at Sheffield Wednesday; they were a massive club in League One and will still be a massive club in the Championship, holding their own even with the teams that have just been relegated from the Premiership in terms of fanbase. It’s a great club to go and make your name at.”