Money remains tight at most Scottish provincial football clubs, but it seems that was also the case 35 years ago.
Over the last few months, I’ve been sharing some of the information unearthed when perusing through our cuttings files.
A cutting, dated November 19, 1982, under the heading ‘Payne Back With United’, read:
Graeme Payne is back at Tannadice.
In a bid to stay in the Premier League, Morton negotiated with United for the services of Payne and Ian Gibson, although it was reported they did not have the money to pay for either.
That was on December 30 last year.
The move was not a great success.
Gibson moved on to St Johnstone in March and played out the season with them.
He has now returned to United.
Payne appeared in 16 league matches for Morton and came on as a substitute three times — in each case replacing the mercurial Andy Ritchie.
He also played from the start in the Greenock club’s two Scottish Cup matches.
The wee midfielder had been criticised by Jim McLean for failing to score enough goals, and he also had little success in this respect with Morton.
He netted only twice.
One was at Dens Park when the Cappielow side secured a 3-3 draw, the other from the penalty spot at Motherwell.
It must be said, however, that Payne supplied much-needed craft to Morton’s lacklustre midfield, and now-departed Greenock boss Benny Rooney wanted to keep him.
The player received a letter informing him he had been retained.
Now comes the news that Morton have been unable to complete the terms of Payne’s transfer, evidently due to lack of funds.
So he has come back to the club he joined from St Columba’s Boys Club almost exactly 10 years ago.
After leaving United permanently in 1984, Payne joined Arbroath for a season.
He also had year-long stints with Brechin City and St Johnstone.
While at Tannadice, he picked up three Scotland U/21 caps.
He is the brother of Kenny, who turned out for Arbroath in the 70s.
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