Payne’s not sore over Blackpool exit

Jack Payne
Jack Payne
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Jack Payne admits it is difficult to predict how the Seasiders will fare in League One.

The midfielder played a leading role in Pool’s promotion campaign, making 44 appearances, but has since joined non-league side Ebbsfleet United after being released by the Seasiders.

The 25-year-old said: “With Blackpool going down two years in a row and now coming back up, it’s hard to say how they will do.

“I hope they do well and hopefully they can stay up. It would be good to see them having another successful season.”

Pool’s success was all the more impressive against the backdrop of continued fan boycotts, with home crowds down by more than 50 per cent on the previous season.

But asked if off-field matters had any effect on the squad last season, Payne said: “Not really. Obviously the fan situation meant we didn’t have as many fans at games, which was a shame.

“With us doing so well, it would have been nice to share it with the fans. But the club seems to have calmed down a little bit compared to a couple of years ago and there were no problems when I was there.

“Thanks to those who did come to games. You were good to me all season, even when I wasn’t playing as well as I should have been. I wish them every success this year.”

After his solitary season in the north of England, Kent-born Payne is returning south and vows Ebbsfleet are striving to get into the Football League.

“It’s 15 minutes from my house, so I’m a local boy,” he said. “I used to go down there when I was a kid, so I know all about the club. The owners put together a five-year plan to get into the Football League.

“I’m not going to say we’ll get promoted but the club wants to be in the Football League as soon as possible.”