Dwight Gayle can now look forward to the rest of his career at Newcastle United after coming through a terrifying ordeal…
Yes, the United striker stood up and sang in front of the rest of the squad and the coaching staff at the training camp in Ireland.
It was Sunday when Gayle took on the challenge of getting through the traditional initiation process at Newcastle, his choice was to sing Oasis’ Wonderwall, the striker booed off and grateful it was all over.
His challenge made slightly easier by the fact that he was only one of a number of new signings who went through the rites of passage after dinner on Sunday. Wonder what Jesus Gamez sang?
The value of a full pre-season for the five new signings (so far) with the rest of the squad cannot be underestimated.
Time on the training pitch together is essential and then you have the bonus of the off the pitch bonding exercises such as what happened on Sunday.
Last summer there were no new signings on the plane when Newcastle’s squad left for America, Gini Wijnaldum joining up with the squad part way through.
With Mitrovic, Mbemba and Thuavin joining so late, you do have to wonder if the club would have still been relegated if they’d got signings in earlier and not had such a chaotic pre-season. Little wonder it was 18 October 2016 before Newcastle won a league game.
No excuse for the players this time, they have to hit the ground running when the season kicks off in 24 days time.
Dwight Gayle speaking to NUFC TV:
“It’s been a great experience so far, we’re spending a lot of time together so there’s a lot of bonding and forging a great team spirit.
“Being with each other 24/7, you’re going to get to know people a lot quicker and that’s the case here. Coming in right at the start of pre-season was perfect for me and it’s been easy to settle in because it’s a great group of lads.
“The training has been really good. We’ve seen a lot of the footballs, with keep-ball, possession drills and finishing – but there has also been a lot of shape and tactical work so it feels like we are covering everything.
“Everything is building up to the game at the weekend.
“If I play on Saturday it’s going to be a nice experience for me. We’ve had a break for a couple of months, I’ve moved clubs in that time and I just can’t wait to get back on the field and start playing again.”
After dinner on Sunday, Dwight Gayle and the other new signings went through the traditional initiation of standing up and singing in front of team-mates and coaching staff.
The striker choosing the Oasis classic ‘Wonderwall’:
“It wasn’t the best!
“I was a bit scared to go up there and got booed off but it’s over now, thankfully.
“I was trying to get out of it but the lads wouldn’t give in, so I had to get it over and done with. It’s one of those things you’ve just got to do.
“I was bad but so were all the new lads, so it’s all good fun and a way of breaking the ice for the new players. Now we can concentrate on the football and we are all looking forward to the game on Saturday.”