Following the signing of Josh Payne I talked to a @LewATFC, a fan of his previous club, Aldershot Town, about what we can expect from the new arrival.
Q. What position/positions did he play Aldershot Town?
A. Josh mainly played in a central midfield role, he can be deployed in a holding role or an attacking style midfielder. Payne is much better in the holding/defensive midfielder role, and he displayed glimpses of that while at Aldershot. Keep it in mind that he only played twenty-three games plus nine substitute appearances for us and from the other six clubs [West Ham, Cheltenham Town, Colchester United, Wycombe, Doncaster and Oxford) he has played for in his young career, only with Oxford did he make near to the number here at Aldershot (25 appearances).
Q. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
A. His key attributes, from what I’ve seen would be his passing. He can certainly play the ball well in the air and on the ground, pin-pointing passes as he goes on a run. I think passing would be one of his best strengths. Another strength is his composure on the ball, he doesn’t panic; calm unless aggravated (as you will find out shortly) He could easily go on a short run and shrug off other midfielders and defenders before playing the simple, easy ball to another player.
So add strength to that list too. Josh is only 22-years old and people forget he is that young, developing and always learning. He has quite a few weaknesses, however I am almost certain this experience will put some of them to bed. Firstly, his temperament (before his prison sentence) was appalling, you could possibly compare him to Joey Barton – as I said he will definitely come out of prison as a changed man. Some of this could have been down to playing while having the court case on his mind. One of the first few games of the season, he was red carded in a woeful 4-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town. It was one of the first games he played but we didn’t know about ‘that’ incident. He’s paid for his stupidity, now he can get his career back on track with Woking and be the young prospect who has been touted by numerous managers many times.
Q. Was Josh a regular player for Aldershot or was he used as a squad rotation player?
A. When he joined in January 2011, he was a regular on the team sheet. The new season (2012/13) came and during the summer ‘that’ incident occurred and either Dean Holdsworth, the manager at the time, didn’t think it was right to play him with that hanging over his head or Josh said something himself but it was evident after the first few games he played in that something was up. He then became a squad rotation player, then a back-up.
Q. Bearing in mind he has dropped down a league, do you think he could be a successful player?
A. 100%, he could be a regular starter in a team like AFC Wimbledon in League Two. In my opinion he has dropped a level and joined Woking to get his career back on track and will probably find a League Two team next summer, if not in January and please take that lightly – he is a really good player, who many thought would walk straight back into that league.
Q. Were you sad to see Josh leave the club last season?
A. Yes and no. I really liked what he had to offer and you could clearly see he was a talent. On the contrary his attitude was rotten and many including myself, were disappointed after his sentencing and probably wouldn’t care if he never stepped foot in Aldershot ever again but upon his release from prison and in that same week he released a statement and an interview with 96.4 Eagle Radio apologizing to the Aldershot faithful. Throughout the interview he was remorse and clearly exposed repent. After this, our opinions changed, We’d take him back in a heartbeat – given our current situation. There are far worse cases involving other Football League players compared to what Josh did.
Q. Do you think he will relish playing against Aldershot this season after his contract was terminated by yourselves?
A. I wouldn’t say relish, in his interview he understood why his contract was terminated – Who would want a player who has been put in prison representing a club? Not only would it tarnish a club’s reputation it would destroy it. Maybe at first he was angry about the termination of his contract but after six months of thinking time, he accepts what Aldershot Town had to do and knows it was his fault. I also think Josh will love to be back playing again and will really enjoy playing us, for good reasons not bad ones.
I am happy that he has found a club and wish him all the best. Good Luck Josh and Woking for next season.