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Stefan moves in to bolster strike force

Stefan Payne

New striker adds to forward options

Tonbridge Angels are delighted to welcome to the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium vastly experienced striker Stefan Payne, who joins the club having spent last season at Welling United where he scored 11 times in 35 appearances.

Stefan, 31 years-old, began his professional career with Sutton United where he quickly attracted the attention of Premier League Fulham, for whom he signed for the 2009/10 season. His time at Craven Cottage did not bring a first team appearance but his performances in the reserve team were enough to earn him a transfer to Gillingham for the following season.

In his two years at the Gills he made a total of 37 appearances, scoring twice. At the end of his contract he returned to non-league football with Aldershot and then back to Sutton.

It was in season 2013/14 that Stefan found a rich vein of form at Isthmian League AFC Hornchurch scoring 35 goals which earned him a move up into the Conference with Dover Athletic, where his prolific run continued, scoring 33 times in a two season spell.

Naturally enough, this spiked the attention of the Football league and he joined Barnsley in the close season of 2016. Further spells in the EFL came with moves to Shrewsbury Town, Bristol Rovers, Tranmere Rovers and Grimsby Town before returning to the non-league scene with Chesterfield in 2021.

Jay Saunders, delighted to have added to his striking options said: “Stefan is another great addition to our squad. He’s someone that has scored goals at this level and above and I’m sure, in this environment, we will get the best out of him.”

Stefan said of his signing: “I’m happy to have signed here, I have heard a lot about the club and heard nothing but good things. I have spoken to the gaffer and nearly signed for him a few times so it will be good to finally work under him and hopefully have a successful season.”

Published Thursday 6th July 2023