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Cambridge City rally round to help Charlie Payne

Youngster Charlie Payne with the Cambridge City first team. Picture: Dave Pettengell
Youngster Charlie Payne with the Cambridge City first team. Picture: Dave Pettengell

Injured youngster given support by Lilywhites

When Charlie Payne suffered a serious knee injury, Cambridge City were eager to do all they could to help.

The 13-year-old was playing centre-back for City’s under-13s when he turned abruptly and tore his left ACL.

Given his age, there was initial concern that he may not be able to have the operation until he was 16.

City, though, were determined not to lose him from the club and, while he waited to find out whether he could have the operation sooner, they went about doing all they could to keep him involved.

Payne was given a signed shirt from the first team, was a mascot on matchday and was then given the chance to look at the coaching aspect of the game.

“I was at the game when he did it and to be honest, it didn’t look anything,” said City youth development chairman Phil Brasher.

“It wasn’t a tackle of anything, it was just a turn. It was brought to my attention that it was more serious than everyone else thought.

“Since it happened, Charlie hasn’t missed a game home or away, supporting the boys. It’s been brought to my attention that he has shown a bit of interest in coaching.

“He can’t take the coaching badges until he is 16, but we have suggested he can help his manager Clive Taylor with a bit of coaching and then drop down to help next year’s under-13s.

“When he does turn 16, he will have served his apprenticeship and given him a kickstart if he decides to pursue that.

“We will fill in whatever arrangements he wants to make and we will fulfil anything we can do to help him achieve it.

“It’s about encouraging children to go out and enjoy themselves and express themselves.”

He added: “We did not want to lose him from football, that’s the thing. It’s what we try to portray at Cambridge City, that we are a caring, sharing family club.”

Father Lee Payne explained that they have sought a second opinion with regards to the operation for Charlie, and hope he will not have to wait three years for surgery.

“We will try to go that way if we can, otherwise it’s a bit of a blank period in terms of his football,” said Lee.

“City have been really good and did that for him on matchday. They have been fantastic and a really good bunch.”

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