John Gayle (footballer)
|Date of birth||30 July 1964|
|Place of birth||Bromsgrove, England|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Sutton Coldfield Town|
|19??–1988||Mile Oak Rovers|
|1993||→ Walsall (loan)||4||(1)|
|1996||→ Gillingham (loan)||9||(3)|
|2006–2008||Totnes & Dartington|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.|
John Gayle (born 30 July 1964) is an English former professional footballer, who played as a Striker for Wimbledon, Birmingham City, Walsall, Coventry City, Burnley, Stoke City, Gillingham, Northampton Town, Scunthorpe United, Shrewsbury Town, Torquay United.
Gayle was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. A powerful target-man centre forward, he worked in a printers and on a building site before beginning his professional career. He played for a number of non-league sides, Alvechurch, Highgate United, Tamworth, Stratford Town, Solihull Borough, Sutton Coldfield Town and Mile Oak Rovers, before joining his hometown side Bromsgrove Rovers. He then moved to Burton Albion, from where he joined Wimbledon in March 1989 for a fee of £30,000 in a deal that also saw Steve Cotterill moving to Wimbledon.
In November 1990, after only 20 league games and 2 goals for Wimbledon and following an alleged training ground bust-up with Keith Curle, Gayle moved to Birmingham City for £175,000, helping the Blues to promotion in 1992. He played for Birmingham City against Tranmere Rovers in the 1991 Football League Trophy Final at Wembley scoring twice in their 3–2 victory with the winning goal scored from a spectacular overhead kick. He moved to Walsall on loan in August 1993, making 4 league appearances, scoring 1 goal. A day after the end of his loan spell, on 13 September 1993, Gayle was back in the top flight, Coventry City paying £100,000 for his services. He had scored 10 goals in 44 league games for Birmingham, but failed to settle at Highfield Road, making only 5 league appearances without scoring before being transferred on to Burnley on 17 August 1994 for £70,000.
This again proved to be only a short stay, Gayle making 14 league appearances and scoring 3 goals before moving to Stoke City for £70,000 on 23 January 1995. He moved to Gillingham on loan on 14 March 1996, making 9 league appearances and scoring 3 goals which helped secure the club's promotion from Division Three. The following season, Gayle was on the move again, joining Northampton Town on 10 February 1997 for a fee of £25,000. He had played 26 times in the league for Stoke, scoring 4 goals, with almost half of his appearances as a substitute.
He remained at Northampton for over a year, scoring 7 times in 48 league games, before joining Scunthorpe United on a free transfer on 16 June 1998. 4 goals in 49 league games followed for the Iron, before he was on the move yet again, this time a free transfer taking him to Shrewsbury Town on 25 November 1999. Gayle played a role in keeping the Shrews in the league, injuries limiting him to 19 league games in which he scored twice.
On 14 December 2000, Gayle was released by Shrewsbury, joining a Torquay United side in need of a target man that up to that time under manager Wes Saunders they had never really had. He made his Torquay league debut on 16 December 2000 against Hull City at Boothferry Park, a rare 2–1 away win for the Gulls, but injured his hamstring during the game and was out for the next month. By the time he returned, Torquay were deeper in trouble at the foot of the league, but Gayle played his part in ensuring survival, appearing mainly as a substitute to add weight to Torquay's lightweight attack late in the game.
However, when he came on as a late substitute in the relegation decider at Barnet on 5 May 2001, he missed several chances to put the game beyond Barnet's reach, or at least test their goalkeeper, only adding to the anxiety of the fans in the away end. It was no surprise that Gayle was released by Colin Lee in May 2001, joining non-league Moor Green where he ended his playing career.
John Gayle subsequently took up a coaching role at a school in Birmingham by the name of Washwood Heath Technology College, a predominantly working-class school with a massive Asian influence, during which time he gave out training sessions in many areas of football and credit to the footballer for reaching out to the ethnic minorities of Birmingham.
In July 2006 Gayle was appointed manager of Devon League side Totnes and Dartington Sports Club. Prior to his appointment, he had been working for the Prince's Trust in Birmingham. In the summer of 2008 he left Totnes and Dartington to be appointed as first team manager at Newton Abbot.
In January 1998 a lawsuit was issued against Gayle by former Bolton Wanderers defender Nicky Spooner. Spooner was playing for Bolton in a game against Burnley at Turf Moor in October 1994 when Gayle clattered into the player severely breaking his right leg and leaving him out of the professional game for three seasons.
The tackle all but ended the future career of Spooner and he had to have a number of operations on the injury as well as a bone graft.
At the time of the writs being issued Spooner had the following to say to the Bolton Evening News.
"I've missed three fantastic years with Bolton, including promotion to the Premiership twice. I'm playing again now but it's just like starting from scratch. That tackle wrecked my career."
A six-figure compensation sum was settled out of court between the two players in April 2000.
- Sourced from John Gayle profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[A]||Total|
|Birmingham City||1990–91||Third Division||22||6||1||0||0||0||6||4||29||10|
|Walsall (loan)||1993–94||Third Division||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||1|
|Coventry City||1993–94||Premier League||3||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||6||0|
|Stoke City||1994–95||First Division||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||6||0|
|Gillingham (loan)||1995–96||Third Division||9||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||3|
|Northampton Town||1996–97||Third Division||13||1||0||0||0||0||5||2||18||3|
|Scunthorpe United||1998–99||Third Division||37||4||1||0||2||0||4||0||44||4|
|Shrewsbury Town||1999–2000||Third Division||18||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||19||2|
|Torquay United||2000–01||Third Division||13||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||13||1|
- Birmingham City
- "John Gayle on his two goals that lit up Wembley for Birmingham City". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
- Lowe, Simon (2000). Stoke City The Modern Era – A Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-39-2.
- "Battle goes on for Nicky". Bolton Evening News. 7 January 1998. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "Spooner pay-out after Turf injury". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 11 April 2000. Retrieved 3 June 2008.