When Dwight Gayle agreed to take a (hopefully temporary…) drop into the Championship with Newcastle United, the reaction of Crystal Palace fans was interesting.
The striker had been little used as a Premier League starter in his three years at Selhurst Park, named just 27 times in the starting 11, plus another 37 off the bench.
However, with 15 goals in 2,739 minutes on the pitch in the top tier, it meant a very decent rate of a goal every 183 minutes, or roughly a goal every two games.
The Palace fans appeared split down the middle, with some believing it was a mistake to sell and Dwight Gayle should stay and get more of a chance, whilst others thought the forward was destined to be a bench player at best and somebody not quite up to being a regular scorer in the top division.
What they were pretty unanimously agreed upon though, was that their departing striker would score plenty of goals in the Championship.
However, as the season has progressed, it appears that the balance has definitely swung towards those who believe it was a mistake by Alan Pardew to sell Dwight Gayle.
For supporters of the South London club it has been a double whammy: despite spending relative fortunes last summer they are in a desperate relegation struggle, whilst at the same time their one-time little used striker has not only become the Championship’s top goalscorer but also top scorer in all four divisions.
With Palace only one point off the bottom of the league and only outside the relegation zone on goal difference, Sam Allardyce has been asked if he had been at the club last summer, rather than Alan Pardew, would he have sold Dwight Gayle to Newcastle?
Sam Allardyce talking to the Croydon Advertiser:
“Goals in the Championship doesn’t relate to goals in the Premier League for some players.
“I saw Abel Hernandez score twenty odd goals to get Hull up last year and he has struggled badly this term.
“Some do make the transition and some don’t.
“I don’t know what would have been the case with Dwight Gayle.”
Last season Abel Hernandez scored 21 in the Championship and only three so far this campaign in the Premier League, though Hull being a total mess hasn’t helped that, they are the second lowest scoring team in the Premier League with only 20 goals.
As for Allardyce, a bit of a surprise that he didn’t stick the knife into Pardew and put more blame his way to help cover up the further disaster at Crystal Palace since he (Fat Sam) took over. A bit out of character!
In actual fact, whilst extra goals would of course come in handy, it is the other end of the pitch where the biggest problems appear to be for Sam Allardyce and his team.
They have scored 30 goals and nobody outside the top seven has scored more, whilst only Hull and Swansea have conceded more than the 40 goals (Sunderland that total as well) that Palace have leaked.
As for Dwight Gayle, latest news this (Tuesday) morning is that his injury isn’t too bad and the club hope to have him back in 2-3 weeks.
With 20 goals in only 21 Championship starts, little doubt that he is a (the?) key player for Newcastle.