ernie payne - fact file

1893 -1898        winger


Born on 1876 in Fulham, West London, England.

Height : - .m  (5' 9")

Weight : -  - kgs    (11st 6lbs)

Ernie Payne proved to be an innocent party in a controversial incident in Tottenham and footballs' history.

The young winger, whose pace and willingness to take on opposing full backs was added to by a liking to shoot for goal, started playing for his school's old boys side - Old Sherbrookians - before he was noticed by local side Fulham, who took him on.  Unfortunately, they failed to give him a regular starting position in the team and he was asked to play for Tottenham in a London Senior Cup match on 21st October 1893 against Old St. Marks. 

Payne wanted to show what he could do and turned up at Fulham's ground to pick up his boots on the morning of the game, but all his things had gone.  This left him arriving at Tottenham with no kit, so the club fitted him out with clothing and shin pads, but there were no boots available to fit the new Spur.  So, he was given ten shillings to go and buy a pair from a local sports shop.

The game was played and it was afterwards, when news reached the West London club who Payne played for, that Fulham complained to the London FA that Spurs had poached the player and that they were a professional outfit, as they had offered inducement to play for them in the shape of the money for the boots.

With lightning speed for a FA, the case was heard within two weeks and Spurs escaped the poaching charge (because he hadn't played for Fulham the season before), but they were found guilty of misconduct in offering him money to buy the boots and the club were suspended for two weeks and Ernie was banned for one week.  The player repaid the 10 shillings so that he could remain an amateur.  Strangely, the public and the press backed Tottenham's cause, although it was a further two years before they went professional and began paying the players who represented the club.

While the whole affair raised Tottenham's profile, Payne did not join the club until 1894 and scored four goals on the first of his appearances as a permanent signing against Polytechnic.  It was December 1895 when Spurs turned pro and Ernie was one of the players who opted not to be paid for his services, although when Tottenham brought Frank Brettell in as their first manager, he wanted his own squad and his signing of David Black saw the Scot replace Payne in the side.

Dropping down to the reserves after a few more first team outings, Payne played on until March 1898, when a knee injury stopped him playing top flight football.



Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Fulham ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR February 1893 ?? Polytechnic won 5-1 (scored four) 137 64
- ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

- Southern League appearances; 5 goals
- FA Cup appearances; - goals
- Other appearances;  - goals
Tottenham Hotspur

20 Southern League appearances; 5 goals
14 FA Cup appearances; 6 goals
103 Other appearances;  53 goals

- Cup winners medal 19---

- appearance




What they said about Ernie Payne
about his 'profession' status ... 'A Romance of Football a History of Tottenham' 1921

"Amateur clubs of these days experienced great difficulty in meeting their obligations. They had to secure talent of which there was a limited quantity. Matches had to be won, and to obtain the necessary players of ability many teams had to resort to many methods. The story of "Paynes Boots" was in the nature of such an incident. However, it marked a new era in the Spurs history. Accused of professionalism the Spurs turned their thoughts from amateurism, but let the story delineate the character of the offence.
There was at the time on the books of the Fulham F.C. one named Ernie Payne. He was a footballer of whom any team would be proud.
He was invited to play for Spurs on October 21st. He consented. On the morning of the match he discovered that someone had taken his boots, shirt and knickers.
He came to Tottenham in a sorry predicament. Everything was readily forthcoming but the boots! In the energy of desperation many pairs were tried, but none would fit. So the officials gave Payne 10s wherewith to buy his boots.
This was alleged to be a transgression off the amateur law.
The Spurs were hauled before the London Football Association who on November 1st, 1893, reported the following as their findings :- "(1) That 10s was given to buy boots; (2) That it was a breach of Rule 10 to give money to a player to buy boots; (3)That the 10s given to Payne for boots was an unfair inducement offered to him to play for the Spurs; (4) The Council are of opinion that the Spurs have been guilty of misconduct and, therefore, acting under Rule 9, the council hereby suspend the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. for a fortnight from date; also that Payne be suspended for one week."
A storm of protest and even an appeal failed to set the decision aside. The Spurs ground was closed for fourteen days. Payne returned the 10s., which the Spurs accepted. It was protested that Fulham did without Payne during the previous season. But Fulham's charge and the decision remained! "

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What they said about Ernie Payne
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