Striker Andrew Paul “Andy” Payton, the Padiham Predator, was born in Burnley and played youth football for his local side until his release at 15 years of age, at which point he joined the Hull City youth setup. He signed a professional contract in 1985 shortly after his 18th birthday, and while Payton impressed in the reserves his first team chances were initially constrained by the success of Brian Horton’s City side as they climbed into the top half of the Second Division. His debut came in April 1987 as a substitute at Stoke City, and for the next eight months Payton was used solely as a replacement. He made his full debut in the starting XI in early January 1988 against Leeds United, and Payton was immediately thrust into the limelight with a goal in the opening two minutes that precipitated a fine 3-1 Tigers win. A run of seven further starts yielded one more goal and as Horton’s Tigers struggled for form, Payton again featured on the City bench. When Horton was sacked in April 1988 and Tom Wilson was appointed caretaker manager, Payton returned to the first team but did not score.
In 1988/89 Payton followed a similar pattern as Eddie Gray took over and paired Keith Edwards with either John Moore and Alex Dyer. Payton’s chances came either off the bench or on the right side of midfield, and it wasn’t until December that Payton opened his account for the season with four goals in four games, featuring a brace in a 5-2 victory over Brighton. They ended up being Payton’s only goals of the entire campaign and when Eddie Gray left and Colin Appleton took over in the 1989 close season, Payton was a player with potential unfulfilled and could have fallen by the wayside as a new gaffer rebuilt the squad. In fact, the opposite happened – while Appleton’s City side struggled for form, Payton started the season spectacularly with five goals in the first three games, including his only City hattrick in a 4-5 defeat at Bournemouth. When Appleton was quickly jettisoned in mid-November 1989 and Stan Ternent took over as manager, Payton was invigorated further and scored 13 goals in 30 appearances for the rest of the season. In 1990/91 Payton was paired regularly with Peter Swan and had his most successful season for the Tigers, missing only three games all season and scoring 25 goals. Despite that personal success City were relegated to the Third Division and in 1991/92 Payton started the Third Division campaign in similar form. By early November 1991 the Tigers were unable to resist offers made by clubs higher up the Football League ladder.
In November 1991 Middlesbrough paid £750,000 for Payton’s services, which stood as City’s record transfer received well into the next millennium. He struggled to assimilate at Middlesbrough and added only three goals in 23 appearances before heading north to Glasgow Celtic in August 1992. Payton scored 20 goals in 15 months at Parkhead before returning to England to join Barnsley in November 1993. He spent three years with the Tykes and returned 45 goals in 122 appearances. Andy joined Huddersfield Town in the 1996 close season and scored 19 goals in his first season, but early in the 1997/98 season the lure of his hometown club proved strong and he joined Burnley. The Clarets were lurking in the third tier but Payton immediately reinvigorated the striking options and the Turf Moor side edged up the table and were promoted in May 2000. Payton was top scorer for three consecutive seasons, including the first season back in the second tier, but as a place in the Championship was cemented Payton’s first team opportunities became restricted. Nevertheless in six seasons he added another 80 goals, taking his career tally to 226 including exactly 200 in league games.
Payton left Burnley in 2003 and hung up his boots after spells at Stalybridge Celtic and Colne Dynamoes. He struggled with drinking and gambling in the early years of his retirement, having to sell his home to clear his debts. He later worked in childrens’ homes and with children with disabilities, and fulfilled matchday punditry duties for local radio stations and coached youngsters in the Burnley area. He also had spells managing and coaching at Colne (in 2012/13), Padiham (in 2016/17) and Northwich Victoria (2017/18). In 2019 Payton was appointed first team manager at Garstang FC, a post he retained for only six weeks before resigning.
Date/Place of Birth: 23 October 1967, Burnley
Hull City First Game: 4 April 1987, Stoke City A (Division Two), 19 years, 163 days old
Hull City Final Game: 9 November 1991, Chester City H (Division Three), 24 years, 17 days old
Hull City (1985-1991), Middlesbrough (1991-1992), Glasgow Celtic (1992-1993), Barnsley (1993-1996), Huddersfield Town (1996-1998), Burnley (1998-2003), Blackpool (2001-2002, loan), Stalybridge Celtic, Colne
Hull City Record
Career: 165 apps, 57 goalsAndy Payton
|1987/88||11 (10)||2||3 (0)||0||0 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1988/89||18 (10)||4||3 (0)||0||1 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1989/90||34 (5)||17||1 (0)||0||2 (0)||1||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1990/91||43 (0)||25||1 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1991/92||10 (0)||7||-||-||3 (0)||1||-||-||1 (0)||0|