Jim caused chaos with refs – but apologises now to a sport he loves!

Senior Cup tie at Carew

To describe Jim Payne as a colourful character in local football would be a massive mis-statement because he was a player, whether in goal or up front for Johnston, whom all local referees hated having on the pitch because of his violent reaction to decisions given against him.
As a result he was sent off arguably the most times of anyone taking part in the Pembrokeshire League and now readily admits that his behaviour was so bad that he actually spent more time out of action because of suspensions than he was actually on the pitch.

Jim looks back – and says sorry!

But it is good to report that Jim has taken a hard look at his involvement since he came here with work in 1999 and he would like the chance to apologise for all those refs he tormented.
“When I look back on my playing days I realise that I didn’t achieve my full potential and on the odd occasions in the last couple of years I have helped out at Johnston, Neyland (for a few months) and the Pembrokeshire Over 40s I have managed to relax more and actually enjoy my games.
“I also realise that I was a real nuisance, which is putting it mildly, to every referee in the county with my antics and I would like to sincerely apologise to all of them because I could have stopped them wanting to referee and I could never forgive myself for that.
“I’m glad to say that whenever I bump into most of them they are really pleasant to me and I really appreciate that!

Problems from Army life which are now dealt with

In his time before coming here from Brecon, Jim had worked for five years in The Army’s Catering Corps but after a traumatic stint in Bosnia when the Balkan War started he was discharged with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression.
“It was an awful time and more recently, when I wanted to look back to try and find reasons for my behaviour I went for tests and also discovered that I had Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and was on the Autism Spectrum!
“In a way it was comfort to know that I had at least made something of my life despite these problems (he has a successful business dealing with telephones and I-pads) and although I don’t want to use them for my antics on football fields I hope football refs and officials might look on me a little kinder when I tell them here that since I know what my problems are at least I can keep them firmly in control!

In the army 1995

Foxes’ fan – and great support from Tracey

Jim’s family hails from Leicester and so it is natural that he is an avid Leicester City supporter, as was his dad before him.

“I try to watch The Foxes whenever I can and was thrilled to watch them beat Everton to win the premiership title.
“It cost me a fortune to get a ticket, which understandably didn’t please my wife Tracey too much – and I copped for a speeding ticket on my way home but it was worth it just to say ‘I was there!’”
On the family front, which is extremely important to Jim Payne, he would say he has had total support from Tracey, who is not a particularly keen sports fan but has always given him total support, even during the bad times on football fields around the county.
They have two sons in Jacob (17) and Isaac (16) and he is rightly pleased that they have followed him into the game, with Jacob only starting out three seasons ago and already making a name for himself as a goalkeeper.

Jacob’s following dad between the sticks . . .

He set out as a no 8 in rugby at school,” Jim told us, “but as a 14 year old he joined the Neyland junior set-up and made his debut between the posts in a West Wales Cup and played quite well.
“Jacob continued with the Young Nomads at under 15 and 16 levels before deciding to give it a try at Haverfordwest County with their academy team coached by Ceri Phillips and Jamie Bessant, with Steve Batty always there for advice and James Devonald giving special help as goalkeeping coach.
“He’s come on in leaps and bounds and has also progressed to senior football with Neyland, where he started with the second team but when Patrick Hannon was unavailable he was called into the first team and made his debut against Goodwick United.
“I told him it would be tough and they lost 12-1 but he made some good saves, as he did the next week in a 6-0 defeat against Hakin United – but I’m delighted to say he has stuck at it and has since played another ten or so games for the firsts.
. . . And Isaac gave up his keeper’s gloves for an outfield role!
“Isaac has been football-mad since he was a nipper and played well in goal from the time he was seven, despite being one of the smallest in the side but when they moved on to bigger goals he found it hard going, so he switched to full back and has played really well there and has already made his senior debut with Neyland 2nds as the youngest player on the pitch.
“I’m obviously delighted to see them play and watched them regularly until the pandemic began – and I’ve made sure that I haven’t got involved on the touchline!”

Started out in the Brecon area and played for The Corries

Jim began his own playing days when his family moved to Brecon and he played his junior football with Northcote FC from under 12 level, often playing three games on a weekend because he didn’t mind playing up a year in the age groups.
“At one time when I was 14 I was invited to trials with Hereford United but once I learned that would stop me playing with my mates at Northcote I wasn’t interested,” admitted Jim.
At 16 he joined the Army Catering Corps and had five years where he played a lot of football for his corps and regiment, even being flown home to play when he was stationed in Germany.
But then the Balkan War started and he was sent out to Bosnia at an awful time and after that was discharged from the army with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression.
“I returned to Brecon and took on several jobs in the catering section whilst I also played Welsh League football with Brecon Corries in 1996/97 but it was too much travelling for me and decided to take a rest when I moved to Johnston with work.

Grabbed by Mickie and the Glebelands’ Gang

“We lived in Glebelands, right alongside The Tigers’ pitch and one day Mick Algieri came calling and said he’d heard I had played football and could I give them a hand – and there was no saying no to him.
“Steve James was in goal so I played up front for two seasons and had a good time in a side that also included Russell Murray, Dean Boswell, Jamie Picton, Paul Davies and Mr Algieri – and I scored about 60 goals in that time.”
But his temperament was getting worse match by match and he upset referees by questioning their decisions and getting so angry that he was regularly shown red cards.

“The only ref I ever found could handle me well was Chris Stapleton because he would keep talking to me and I was always glad when he turned up to ref our matches.”

Ready to save at Tish

Temper tantrums get worse

“The worst incident came in a Second Division Cup Final when I was sent off by a ref I now have the utmost respect for and when something happened on the pitch I rushed back on and was shown a second red card.
“I thought I had calmed down and asked if I could go on to receive my medal and eventually I was allowed – but thought something had been said and off I went again with my shouting and bawling so that I received a third red card and was threatened with having the police called. I tell you this, not because I think it’s funny but to highlight something that I deeply regret and I’m glad to say that whenever I bump into that referee, who is a very decent man, he is always ready for a chat with me!
“I was banned for nine matches as a result and thought I might have had even longer!
“On another occasion I got into an argument with an opponent who called me ‘Big Ears’ and instead of laughing at him I lost the plot and said things I shouldn’t – and off I went again!
“How Johnston put up with me I’ll never know and Russell Murray as manager was patient with me because he knew I was sorry afterwards - and I got on well with another goalkeeper in Martin Langdon, amongst others.”

Playing for Neyland

And finally . . .

Jim is now 46 and although he doesn’t play as often as he used to he can look back on several cup finals with The Tigers and games with Hakin United Over 40s with Gary Dawes.

“I never thought I would enjoy pulling on a Hakin jersey,” said Jim with a typical chuckle!
He still keeps an interest in football when his work with HTB Repairs allows, and has sponsored the over 40s, Haverfordwest County Juniors, Johnston and Neyland Juniors to put a bit back into his sport.
To sum up, this larger than life character simply wanted to say:
“I would like to publicly apologise to all the refs I offended because I know they were only trying to do a job I could never do.
“I promise I am a much calmer man now than I ever was and if you ever bump into me I hope you will let me shake you by the hand and you’ll let bygones be bygones.” 

Over 40s back row third left