the square ball weekBack
Billy Paynter. Billy ‘Barndoor’ Paynter. Billy ‘Barndoor Big Boobs’ Paynter. Billy ‘Barndoor Big Boobs Here’s a Banjo Here’s a Cow’s Arse’ Paynter. William ‘Nil’ Paynter, Esquire. William ‘It Was Really Nothing, Zero, Zilch, Nada, Nowt’ Paynter. Billy ‘The Painster’ Paynter. Willius ‘Around The World In Eighty Days And Still No Goals’ Paynter. Billy ‘Don’t Be A Hero, See, We Told You It Wouldn’t Work’ Paynter. The Lesser Scoring Duck-Billed Paynterpus. Billy ‘C’mon, Billy!’ Paynter. Billy ‘Come on Billy!’ Paynter. Billy ‘William, We Won’t Tell You Again, Now Come ON’ Paynter. The Paynter Without a Brush. Double-oh Zero: Licence to Bill. Oh Billy. If nothing else, Billy, we’ve had a laugh.
Even as he headed through the exit door, poor old Billy Paynter couldn’t help slipping on a rollerskate and bringing a tin of paint tumbling down on him from a precariously placed ladder: after giving him a week’s trial to prove himself worthy of another go in the Championship, Blackpool knocked it on the head after a day and returned hapless Billy to sender. You can picture him peeking shamefully round the door at home, wringing his beret in his hands, trying to think of a way to break the news to long-suffering Betty. “Oh, Billy,” she’ll say. “What am I going to do with you?” “Ooh, Betty,” Billy’ll say. “Not to worry. I’ve spoken to that very nice man in Doncaster, he kept that job open for me.”
In the nicest possible sense, a return to League One might be the best thing for old Bill; it’s easy to forget that with Swindon, he was actually something of a beast at that level. Especially against us. And while he’ll go down in history as one of the worst strikers we’ve had, it would be mean to hold any kind of grudge against Paynter. This website listing 198 things better than Billy Paynter was already mean enough, if we’re honest – funny, but mean. But funny. But if Warnock hadn’t taken pity on him and sent him on his way, bless ‘im, we get the feeling Billy would willingly spend the rest of his life at Leeds, working hard in training, waiting patiently for his chance, believing that he just needs that bit of luck to show what he can do. Or, as he told us in barely comprehensible scouse when we shoved a tape recorder in his face for The Square Ball podcast (episode 25, archive fans): “Just waiting for that bus to come.” God loves a trier Billy, and we don’t doubt you did do your best: but that alone will never be enough for a Leeds no. 9.
He had big boots to fill, although Leeds always denied that was meant to be a replacement for Jermaine Beckford. Speculation is rife at the moment that Jermaine could be on his way back; Craig Mackail-Smith and Jay Bothroyd are also in the frame as Warnock looks to spend the – sniff – Snodgrass money. On that subject, here’s Spoughts on Snoddy’s sale – “I turned 20 eight days ago, and the situation compared to ten years ago cannot be much more different … For a generation of kids, born into the doldrums of the lower leagues, he is, or was, a hero” – and here’s a photo that, well, it makes us tear up a bit. Look. We know. We’ll get over it. We just need a little time.
The Scratching Shed are in a more positive mood, pointing out the good vibes that suggest Ross McCormack is staying, that Rodolph Austin is just a few bits of paperwork away from wearing a Leeds shirt, and Warnock is dropping more heavy hints about new players coming in, maybe even before we play Preston this weekend. A 1-1 draw against Sandefjord in Norway saw Leeds step up pre-season with some heavier duty opposition, and the takeover was finally compl – ah, we must have dreamt that last one.
A lot of the positivity might be down to Neil Warnock’s inspired suggestion of a pre-season piss up in the Cornish sunshine, which seems to have put a smile on the face (and sunburn on the chest) of everyone who went. It was all Jelly and Ice Cream at Warnock’s House according to Becchio Well Placed, and Fear and Loathing’s summer blog of cynicism was put on hold long enough for a full diary of the week-long jollifications. Well, full in the sense that he had to read the score next day of at least one game he was actually at and that he has precious little to say about the actual football, but we guess that was probably the point.
Also headed for happier climes is Andy O’Brien, our troubled and at times troublesome big defensive signing from Bolton. Andy’s destination is Vancouver Whitecaps, which, if you’re a player looking for a fresh start, is about as fresh as starts can get. It’s not an unfamiliar path for Leeds players, though: the old NASL version of the Whitecaps featured David Harvey, Peter Lorimer, Terry Yorath and Johnny Giles in their ranks in the early eighties.
They also had ex-Leeds player Ray Hankin, which leads to our favourite discovery of the week: this exhaustive, detailed and utterly fantastic fan-site devoted to Ray Hankin’s career. The Leeds section has sent us into a blissful nostalgic spin, as it has everything – photos, press cuttings, old kits, posters, stickers and classic collector card artwork; just when you think it can’t get any better, you scroll down a bit more and there’s a full set of 79/80 player portrait pinbadges. Don’t miss the Whitecaps and non-league pages either, where you can follow Hankin, Harvey and even Eddie Gray all the way to the mid-eighties and Whitby Town. Thank you, whoever did this.
And, since we’re ending this week by feeling all happy and generous, thank you too, Billy ‘That Was A Good Goal Against Preston, Lad’ Paynter. May every bus you board be to Destination: Goalland. Or at least heading away from Doncaster, and quickly.