I don’t do rumour sites, I may have mentioned it before, but I do listen to journalists who usually know what they’re talking about.
Alan Nixon has reported this morning that Swindon Town are eyeing a move for Jack Payne this summer, or in his own words it is ‘very much on the cards’. Payne, who joined us last summer on a deal of undisclosed length, is believed to be one of the bigger earners at the club and is not seemingly on Michael Appleton’s list of favoured names.
It would seem likely that Michael will want Payne out of the squad, given the minimal outings he had last season, which is a crying shame. Not only that, but he could be yet another player from last season who we have to face up against, along with Bozzy and Eards at Burton Albion. It’s a huge fall from grace for Payne, whom I billed as the most important signing we’d made in recent history when he arrived. To be fair, his early outings suggested we might be right too.
In August I watched us beat Accrington 2-0 and I think I proclaimed then that Jack Payne would be Player of the Year, but as the season wore on he had a tendency not to impact games as much as he should. I think if anything, Jack was affected by DC leaving more than most. He was a top dog under Danny, a player brought in to define a new style. When Michael arrived, nobody needed to define the new style because the manager did it; there was no precedent of defensive football, counter-attack or long ball. Michael Appleton was a new style and that made Jack Payne just another cog in the wheel.
I think he also suffered from a lack of confidence at times, never quite living up to the hype. I firmly felt he was going to revolutionise our style, but he was always nine-tenths of the way there. I described him as a Range Rover Evoque when he signed, but I’m beginning to wonder if he is more of a concept car. I like the idea of Jack Payne, but he’s seemingly just one step away from being what I think he is. That said, he was excellent against Southend in the ten minute run out he got and yet he was gone again a week later, not given a chance.
There is little doubt he has the ability to play at this level, but he needs a manager who is going to show patience with him if it doesn’t work out. He assists plenty of shots, but his actual goals and assists ratio was very low, nowhere near what we expected by the end of the season. It’s a shame, I had him down as a player who could well have an effect this season, but if Nixon is to be believed it could be curtains before he gets a chance.