The versatile, Pontefract-born Steve Payne came through the youth ranks at Huddersfield Town but didn't trouble the first-team statisticians before being freed to join Macclesfield Town in December 1994. Steve won Conference titles with the Silkmen and played in their FA Trophy-winning side. In all, Steve made 112 Conference appearances for Macc, scoring four times, while working as a joiner. In his last year there he was the side's skipper.
The Spireites paid £40,000 for Steve in 1999. He was
well-know to supporters before his arrival, since he scored both goals in
Chesterfield's '98-9 defeat at Moss Rose and was involved in the incident that
saw David Reeves sent off there. Steve settled into the back row alongside
Steve Blatherwick and the two complemented eachother neatly, but with
Chesterfield's failure to score very much to the fore in '99-2000, Steve was
pitched up front as an emergency forward and responded well, his pace and
opportunism giving him three goals to his credit.
When Stuart Howson arrived to take a central defence berth, Steve moved to fullback and continued to perform with distinction, winning a player of the year award for 2002. At full-back, a long throw emerged as a useful attacking weapon. He was appointed team captain the following year but found his opportunities limited by injuries that would eventually hasten his departure from Saltergate.
Despite problems with injury Macclesfield were tempted to pay £25,000 to take Steve back to Moss Rose in April 2004. His return was not a happy one and he played only 13 more times for Macc before the curtain came down on his League career. Having returned to his former trade of carpentry Steve moved into non-league football, with Northwich Victoria and Stalybridge Celtic.
For Chesterfield: 145+5 Football League appearances, 8 goals.