All you need to know about Crawley Town’s first summer signing

Crawley’s first bit of business this summer has seen them bring in midfielder Jack Payne from Eastleigh on a one-year deal with the option of an additional year.

Aged 29, the midfielder has a wealth of experience in League One and Two, and this season will be his first in the EFL since 2016-2017.

Manager John Yems said he knew Payne from their years at Gillingham together, and believes “he’s a different kind of player that will complement the team well for next season”.

Payne’s last game in the EFL was in 2017 with Blackpool, and he’s eagerly anticipating a return with Crawley

Crawley Town new boy Jack Payne in action for Peterborough United at Walsall in 2014. Picture by Joe Dent/JMP

He said: “I played for a few clubs and got a good number of games. I dropped out at a time where I probably shouldn’t have, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

"I’m buzzing to be back in the league and this club ticks all the boxes for me”.

While at Peterborough, Payne enjoyed one season in the Championship, and believes his experience could prove fruitful for Crawley.

He added: “Early on in my career I’ve peaked a little bit, but I’m still the same player, I just took different choices at the wrong time, but now I’m here I want to get into the team and get back in the league.

"The squad here is really strong, so I’ve got to make sure I work hard to get in the team”.

Payne was a part of the Blackpool side who were promoted in 2017, playing a key part in their League Two play-off final win over Exeter City, and he’ll be hoping he can use some of that experience with Crawley this season.

He said: “If I can bring anything to the group that’s going to enhance us and bring us to the top of the table then I’ll bring everything I can.

"I think that’s the aim for every club, you want to get out of the league you’re in, and obviously the play-offs are brilliant, but I think we’d rather win the league!”

Yems’ relationship with Payne was a big factor in him returning to the club, and he looks forward to playing under his management:

The midfielder added: “I know the way he works, I know the way he likes to have a tight-knit group, which I think this year is going to be really important with budgets etc, everyone’s going to be taking a hit because of Covid.

"The way the gaffer gets his groups together is something I’d love to be a part of and thankfully I’ll be a part of that this year”.

Payne also described the type of player Crawley fans can expect next season.

He said: “I love to get on the ball, I want to pass it, but I can mix it up.

"I love a tackle, despite my size, which is why the gaffer brought me in, because of my experience”.