In the run up to Christmas 2017 sad news reached the club of the death of our former player Barry Payne on the 10thDecember at the age of 78. Barry made 184 appearances and scored 11 goals for St Albans City between 1956 and 1964.
Predominantly a left-back, Barry joined the Saints towards the end of the 1955-56 season from Mid Herts League side E.A.C. (Electrical Appliance Company, for whom he worked). His pedigree was already good having been selected for St Albans Schools and Hertfordshire Schoolboys and later he played three times for the senior county side. He first turned out in our colours as a 17-year-old for the Reserve team during a 2-0 Isthmian League Reserve Section defeat to Woking at Kingfield on 5thMay.
The Reserve team was very much an experimental XI that day with fellow E.A.C. player Jonny Miller given a run out along with Tawny McShane from Ballito Sports, and the Carlton trio of Victor King, Alan Howell and B.Johnnys. Barry, who attended Beaumont School would often be seen cycling to matches at Clarence Park, was just one of a number of former Mid Herts League youngsters who were snapped up by the Saints. The likes of Barry Cobb, Bill Southern, Clive Greenwood, Graham King and Jimmy ‘Ginger’ Norris, all progressed through the local leagues around the same time as him.
Barry started the 1956-57 season in the City Reserve team before making his First team debut on 6thOctober in an Isthmian League match against Ilford at Newbury Park. It was hardly a glorious day for the Saints but Barry did receive a favourable mention in the match report following City’s 3-0 defeat; ‘Apart from McCormack and Payne, who deputised for A.Law at left-back, no St Albans player did anything to enhance his reputation.’
He retained his place in the side for the visit of Wimbledon the following Saturday and was again on the receiving end of praise as The Dons run of five straight wins at Clarence Park was halted by a thumping 5-0 City victory. Unfortunately, his year ended in some discomfort with a knee injury sustained against Romford on 29thDecember allowing Alf Law to reclaim the left-back position. Barry returned at the start of February but the injury flared up again and when the trouble persisted in a Reserve match two weeks later it was time to admit that his season was over.
A knee operation during the summer kept him out for the early weeks of 1957-58 but after a run in the Reserves he returned to First team duty early in the new year. The season ended with Barry picking up a Herts Charity Cup winners medal (plaque to be precise) as goals by Clive Greenwood and Ron Wood saw off Athenian League side Hitchin Town at Clarence Park.
Free from injury Barry appeared in 35 of our 37 games during the 1958-59 campaign, his highest number of appearances in one season. His first goal for the club came on the opening day of the 1959-60 season; a 20-yarder that turned seeming defeat into a 3-2 victory over Clapton at the Park.
Given that he was powerfully built it was perhaps a surprise that St Albans did not utilise his attributes in attack until 13thApril 1963 when he lined up alongside fellow defender Barrie King for an Isthmian League encounter with Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill. Standing in for the injured Danny Desmond City’s makeshift forward scored four times during a 6-2 rout of the Hamlet on the 55thanniversary of the formation of St Albans City. Although he scored again in City’s next match, a Herts Senior Cup semi-final defeat at Barnet, Barry returned to the backline once Desmond regained fitness.
Barry lost his place in the side at the end of November 1963 but after a spell away from the club returned in March after fellow defender John Adamson quit the City. Barry’s final appearance came in a 1-1 draw with Walthamstow Avenue at the Park; he stood in up front again and had what appeared to be a perfectly good headed goal from a Herbie Smith cross disallowed for offside against another player.
Away from football Barry was a member of Lakeside Cricket Club for over 40 years and played bowls for the Co-Op in Luton.