by Mick Cain
THE PADIHAM PREDATOR Andy Payton is finally set to make his long awaited debut for the Vintage Clarets in this Sunday’s (2nd Aug) Charity game at Nelson FC.
The former Burnley striker, who was the Second Division’s top scorer in 1999-2000 as the Clarets were swept to promotion, will join up with the rest of the squad ahead of the match against Football Fundraising – a team made up of Burnley fans, helping to raise money for Kidneys for Life as well as the Gary Parkinson Trust.
In a career spanning 19 years, Andy scored 201 league goals (69 of which came at Burnley). After being released initially by Burnley as a youngster, Andy got his first contract at Hull City where he went on to make 143 appearances and scored 55 goals. Six years later, he moved North to Middlesborough for a short spell, before heading up to Glasgow giants Celtic in 1992.
It was a great season in Scotland for Andy, scoring 15 league goals and also notching the winner in the Old Firm derby!
After a season, Andy headed back to England to join Barnsley in 1993 where he enjoyed a prolific spell, scoring 41 goals in 108 appearances for the Tykes. In 1996 a move to Huddersfield Town was sealed, and again the goals continued as Andy hit 17 in 43 games.
But then in 1998, then Clarets boss Chris Waddle sealed a deal to bring Payton back to Turf Moor which involved Paul Barnes going the other way. It was probably the best thing that Waddle ever did for Burnley, with Payton’s partnership with Andy Cooke effectively sealing safety in the division, albeit in the final home game against Plymouth with Cooke grabbing the two vital goals in a 2-1 win.
The following season, after the much welcomed exit of Waddle, saw the arrival of Stan Ternent as manager, with Payton becoming very much the main man for goals, scoring 20 league goals as the Clarets finished 15th.
But then in the 1999/2000 season the Clarets sealed automatic promotion, largely down to Payton’s 27 league goals.
Since retiring from the game in 2004, Andy has been working in the local community helping disadvantaged children and adults alike – as well as getting involved in youth football, coaching several teams.
It will be absolutely fantastic to see Andy Payton playing in Claret & Blue again on Sunday, make sure you don’t miss out!
The game takes place at Nelson FC and kicks off at 1:30pm, with tickets available to buy now, and pay on the gate available on the day.