Gayle can't stop scoring in the second tier with his goals tally going through the roof.
Yes, we know Dwight Gayle’s relentless scoring is taking place solely in the second tier against the likes of Birmingham City and Barnsley but the fact remains that Newcastle United’s hallowed number nine shirt appears a rather snug fit.
The tally now stands at 16 goals in 15 Championship starts since his summer arrival from Crystal Palace, with Glenn Murray’s Championship record of 30 well within his sights.
And Newcastle fans were well within their rights to let out a few peeps of excitement as Gayle tucked the hat-trick ball under his arm following his clinical treble against Birmingham on Saturday. After the inconsistency of Papiss Cisse and Obafemi Martins, the 27-year-old is exactly what they have been crying out for on Tyneside since ‘Big Al’ himself waved farewell to the Gallowgate 11 years ago; a reliable, natural goalscorer.
But how does Gayle’s goals per minute rate compare to his ancestors in the number nine? Hint; rather well.
Obafemi Martins – 239 mins per goal
A marquee signing from Inter Milan in 2006/07, everything about Obafemi Martins screamed spectacular. The lightning pace, the somersault celebration, the 84mph wonder goal against Tottenham; unfortunately, however, such montage moments were interspersed with long periods of very little.
The Nigerian averaged a goal roughly every three Premier League games for Newcastle.
Papiss Cisse – 208 mins per goal
How to judge Papiss Cisse? While strikers often take some time to get used to the ins and outs of the English game, the Senegalese announced himself in around 80 minutes. And in some style too with an outrageous volley versus Villa. 13 goals in 14 Premier League games followed between January and May but, across four complete seasons, Cisse never managed to replicate such a tally.
Remember that swerving uber-volley against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that looked so much like a fluke? Maybe it was just a fluke.
Alan Shearer – 177 mins per goal
The greatest goal-scorer in Premier League history officially has a worse goals per minute ratio with the number 9 on his back than Andy Carroll. Yet, the only reason such a debate exists is because of Shearer’s legendary status on Tyneside, underpinned by a consistency almost unmatched across the decades.
Andy Carroll – 147 mins per goal
The Tyneside-born target man only spent half a season in the infamous jersey, inheriting it after spearheading Newcastle’s return to the Premier League in 2010. Eleven goals between the summer and the winter culminated in a move to Liverpool that, in hindsight, was ill-advised for all concerned.
Yet, for a brief period, Carroll looked set to be Shearer’s natural successor.
Dwight Gayle – 80 mins per goal
Why Crystal Palace, fighting near the bottom end of the Premier League, let their most instinctive goalscorer depart is anyone’s guess. Yet, Newcastle fans will enjoy getting one over their old boss Alan Pardew.
There was always a nagging feeling that, given the games, goals would follow for a player reared in the uncensored surrounds of non-league – a feeling he is proving correct on Tyneside.