Profiles of the current Tranmere Rovers squad

Stefan Payne Artwork

45. Stefan PAYNE

Position: Forward

Signed (From): 2019 (Bristol Rovers)

Debut: vs. Rochdale (03/08/19)

Former Clubs: Bristol Rovers, Shrewsbury Town, Barnsley, Dover Athletic, AFC Hornchurch, Ebbsfleet United, Macclesfield Town, Sutton United, Aldershot Town, Braintree Town (loan), Gillingham, Fulham, Croydon

TRFC Achievements: N/A

Lambeth-born Stefan Payne started his career with local side Croydon, with whom he made a number of appearances before transferring to Sutton United. Whilst at Gander Green Lane, Stefan scored 6 goals in 10 matches to catch the eye of, and earn a move to, Fulham in 2009.

After failing to make a first-team appearance at Craven Cottage, Payne was again on the move in the summer of 2010, signing for League Two Gillingham on a 2-year deal. Stefan made his professional debut on 7th August 2010 in a 1-1 home draw with Cheltenham Town.

In February 2011, he joined Conference club Braintree Town on a short-term loan, playing five matches before returning to Priestfield. He left the Gills in January 2012, joining League Two rivals Aldershot Town. However, he was quickly on his travels, returning to Sutton United until the end of the season having played just once for the Shots.

Payne moved from the Conference South back into the Conference Premier in 2013, joining Macclesfield Town in January 2013, before yet again transferring within the same window, this time to Ebbsfleet United. After just 13 matches and 2 goals for the Fleet, Stefan joined AFC Hornchurch in August 2013.

Following a couple of turbulent seasons and a somewhat nomadic existence, Stefan remained at Hornchurch for the full 2013-14 campaign, scoring 31 goals in 46 games for the Urchins. This form saw him earn a move to Conference club Dover Athletic.

In two full seasons, Payne had a particularly successful time on a personal level, scoring 40 goals in 98 games as he ended the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons as the top scorer at the Crabble Athletic Ground. He was also named Players' Player of the Year for the 2015-16 campaign.

Stefan had caught the eye of several clubs, but it was Championship Barnsley who offered him an EFL return in May 2016. Whilst at Oakwell, he made just 12 appearances before joining League One Shrewsbury Town on loan on 30th January 2017, on a deal until the end of the 2016-17 season.

He joined the Shrews permanently in summer 2017, signing a 2-year contract at the New Meadow. His first season was a roaring success, scoring 14 goals in 54 games and finishing as the Club's top scorer in a season when they reached Wembley twice. Payne was a 75th-minute substitute in the 2018 Football League Trophy final, whilst he was a 56th-minute substitute in the 2018 League One Play-off final.

Whilst Stefan was on the losing side on both occasions, he earned a transfer to League One rivals Bristol Rovers in 2018. Having played in the Shrews' opening League One fixture, he transferred to the Memorial Ground on 9th August 2018 for an undisclosed fee rumoured to have been a six-figure sum.

His time at the Gas was not a happy one. With just 2 goals in 20 appearances, and in the aftermath of a very public falling out with the supporters, he was sent back to Shrewsbury Town on loan on 31st January 2019. He remained at the New Meadow until the end of the season, making just 5 appearances without scoring.

Unsurprisingly, his Gas contract was mutually terminated on 26th June 2019 and within hours he had signed a 2-year contract with Tranmere Rovers.

Interesting Fact: Tranmere represent the 13th permanent club of Stefan's career.