Payne commits to the Phoenix for another three seasons

All Whites defender Tim Payne has followed teenagers Finn Surman and Oskar van Hattum in committing to the Wellington Phoenix through until the end of the 2024/25 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Payne, who has played more than 50 matches for the Phoenix since arriving in Wellington in 2019, has signed a new three-year contract with the club.

“Hopefully together we can continue to build a relationship and can bring home some silverware,” Payne said. “We were very close this year and hopefully I can contribute that in the next three years.”

“Obviously as players we want to win something and hopefully we can be in the top six every year that I’m here and then hopefully push for the minor championship and obviously then the major one at the end which would be fantastic to bring home for the club.

“Having been forced to play away from home for the best part of two seasons hopefully this three year deal will also mean I will be able to regularly play in front of our amazing fans at Sky Stadium.”

As well as endeavouring to bring the A-League trophy back to Wellington, the 28-year-old believes he has “a massive role” to mentor the next generation of players coming through the club.

“Obviously at the age I’m at now it’s a chance for myself, going into my later years of my career I suppose, to help all these young kids that we’ve got at the Phoenix.

“Trying to help out the younger generation of Kiwis coming in, the likes of Finn Surman, who has just signed his first contract with the club.

“As any senior player in any environment it’s definitely part of your role and obviously being the only New Zealand professional football club to have an older Kiwi in that team to help out younger Kiwis is only a good thing.”

Payne arrived in Wellington as a central midfielder, but went on to start 15 matches at right back in his first season as the Nix finished third on the ladder.

He played primarily at centre back last season and started this campaign in the heart of defence before moving back out to the right side of the back four as the Phoenix have gone six games unbeaten in the league.

“Wherever the coaches want to put me I’ll do my job for the team.

“I think right back and centre back are the two main positions I’d see myself playing for the next three years. I’m in at right back at the moment and I’m enjoying that.

“Maybe as I get a little bit older it will be good on the body to transition back into centre back, but I think I still have the legs and the ability to play that role at right back.”

Head coach Ufuk Talay says Payne has become “an integral part of the team”.

“During my tenure I think he’s been on the rise. I think he’s grown and matured as a player.

“Always the biggest investment you can make it your team is retaining your best players and we’re very pleased that Tim has decided to stay on board and continue for another three seasons.

“He’s one of our senior players and he leads by example by what he does on the park. At the same time, I think he’s good for our younger players within the group.

“He’s been through a journey where he’s been overseas and come back and had to start again. He’s shown what you can achieve if you don’t give up and belief in yourself.”