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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘FLW Greats’ series, this content strand is where we look back on a player’s individual season and discuss how impressive they were…
The class of 2016-17 were regarded as one of the most dominant sides in Championship history, and Newcastle United really haven’t looked back.
The season before had been nothing short of a disaster under Steve McClaren, and while Rafa Benitez came in and visibly steadied the ship, it was too little too late in terms of the club’s survival hopes.
Benitez decided to stay in the North East and help the club back into the top flight, but in doing so he knew that he’d have to recruit wisely in order to have a squad of players who were physically, technically and mentally up for the challenge of a 46-game season.
One of the players brought in to fire the club to glory was Dwight Gayle.
Despite playing a key role in Crystal Palace’s survival in the Premier League the season before, Gayle was a striker with a proven track record in the EFL and someone who perfectly fitted the ball of what it took to fire Newcastle United back to where they belonged.
The striker’s impact was almost immediate as despite not scoring on his debut against Fulham, he went on to score four in his first four in Black and White.
Dwight Gayle had taken to life on Tyneside like a duck to water, and scored a staggering 20 goals in 24 league appearances during the first half of the campaign.
This include hat-tricks in home victories against Norwich City and Birmingham City, as well as scoring a brace on an impressive five different occasions.
Unfortunately, the second half would be much more frustrating for the pint-sized frontman.
After scoring the opener in the 2-1 victory over Brentford, Gayle was forced off the pitch with a hamstring injury – a problem that would stop him from making a sustained impact during the rest of the promotion push.
Troublesome by nature, Gayle tried several times to make his comeback from the problem but was often limited to cameo appearances before suffering another setback in his recovery.
He still managed to score another three during the second half of the campaign as Newcastle United secured automatic promotion, but he’ll be frustrated that it couldn’t be more.
Which ever way you look at it, 23 goals is a massive contribution to a club’s promotion-winning campaign and based on performances since then it seems likely that the 2016-17 season will be the legacy that Dwight Gayle leaves on Tyneside when he moves on to pastures new.