Sutton striker was not enjoying football anymore
Sutton United boss Paul Doswell says Stefan Payne walked away from the club because he was “not enjoying his football” anymore.
The striker missed the start of the season after picking up an injury in the pre-season friendly against Leyton Orient, but has bagged two goals in the Blue Square South since his return.
However, Doswell revealed that the 21-year-old approached him on Saturday and told him he wanted to leave Gander Green Lane.
Payne first signed for United from Croydon in 2009, going on to make 47 appearances and scoring 15 goals.
Doswell said: “It is a shame for him, and for us, but hopefully he will come back.
“He went to Fulham and felt he did not get the chance he warranted there, and then he went to Gillingham and that did not work out for him, and then he went to Aldershot.
“I think he was one of those spirals where things are not working out for him as well as he would have hoped.
“He said to me that football had become an effort and that is no good for anyone. He was not enjoying getting up to go to work, and that is a prerequisite for all of us.”
He added: “What people don’t realise is it is a massive commitment playing non-league football, and he felt he could continue to do that.”
Going in the opposite direction is Leroy Griffiths who returns to the United fold after leaving in the summer for Thurrock.
Doswell said: “Leroy is only taking expenses, which fits in perfectly with our budget situation. We’re having a tough time of it right now. Apart from the FA Trophy games, we’ve have one league match at home since the beginning of October.”
With the financial constraints forcing Doswell’s hand, the boss is looking to bring in reserve players Kevant Serbony and Rhys Murrell-Williamson, who impressed in the Surrey Senior Cup win over Whyteleafe.
Meanwhile, Doswell is struggling to understand what he calls the “snake and ladders” league.
Marvin Williams and Harry Beautyman scored the goals that saw off Bromley 2-0 on New Year’s Day in the Blue Square South.
The win, United’s sixth successive victory, lifted United to 13th in the table, just five points off the play-off places, although they remain only four points above the drop zone.
And Doswell’s men face a tough assignment this weekend with a trip to league leaders Salisbury, ahead of the small matter of an FA Trophy clash in two weeks.
Doswell said: “After three postponed games, it was good to get back playing. We’ve been training three times a week but not playing competitive matches at the end.
“We were expecting a hard game at Bromley, they’d beaten Kidderminster in the Trophy, and we saw them at Tonbridge and they were excellent.
“But we were excellent at Bromley for about an hour, then they made a couple of substitutions and put us under a bit of pressure.
“Even so, we restricted them to just one chance and we should have won by more really.”
He added: “But this league is the weirdest I have ever been involved with. I’ve never known the second from bottom team being on 21 points, and the team in fourth being on 33 points.
“If Bromley had beaten us, we would be in the bottom three, instead we’re knocking on the door of the play-offs.”