Tuesday, January 30, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 84: Howard Gayle

Despite making just five first team appearances for the Reds, winger Howie Gayle did enough to be voted into our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown at number 84.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Howie Gayle

Years at Liverpool: 1977 to 1983

Position: Winger

Date-of-birth: 18/5/1958
Birthplace: Liverpool

Signed from: Bedford (Liverpool Sunday League)

Games: 5
Goals: 1

Honours won: none

Howard Gayle achieved two notable claims to fame during his short, but sweet, Liverpool first team career. A boyhood Liverpudlian from the Toxteth district of the city, Gayle fulfilled a dream when he signed for his idols in 1977 after being spotted playing Sunday League football by John Bennison. He quickly established himself as a key member of Roy Evans' all-conquering reserve side and in October 1980 made his first team debut at Manchester City. He came on as a second half substitute for David Fairclough and in doing so became the first black player to ever represent the club. Blessed with lightening speed and intricate skill, Gayle's most memorable moment in a Liverpool shirt came six months later in the impressive setting of Munich's Olympic Stadium. It was the second leg of the European Cup semi-final against the mighty Bayern Munich and Liverpool faced a daunting task in their bid to reach the final in Paris. Sent on a substitute for the injured Kenny Dalglish early in the game Gayle made a dramatic entrance. He terrorised the Germans with his blistering pace and dazzling ball control, while his frequent probing forays into Bayern territory silenced the vast home crowd. Having run the experienced Bayern defence ragged he was eventually substituted late in the second half but his scintillating performance paved the way for a famous Liverpool triumph. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the Gayle. He scored on his full debut three days after his heroics in Munich but he made just two further first team appearances after that. With competition for places fierce he regrettably bade farewell to Anfield in January 1983 and joined Birmingham City in a £75,000 deal. While at St Andrews he gained England under-21 honours and later enjoyed spells with Sunderland and Blackburn, among others. Sadly, the early promise he had shown in Munich was never fulfilled. At Anfield though, the memories of his European heroics will never fade.

Sold to: Birmingham City (January 1983)

Claim to fame: Helping Liverpool reach the 1981 European Cup Final

Did you know? He was the first Liverpool sub to be subbed

Where is he now? After hanging up his boots he went into coaching and he's currently involved in the development of local youngsters

Stephen Done on Howard Gayle: "In some ways, he only played five games, scored one goal, you could really say does that make him one of the great, most important players in the history of the club? Well, yes, in a way, it does. Perhaps not for the reasons Howie Gayle wants to be remembered."

No comments: