71 year-old Barry Fry is quite a character and he managed Peterborough United from 1996 through 2005 and is now the Director of Football there.
He discovered Dwight Gayle in 2011 playing for non-league Bishop Stortford and he saw a real goal scoring talent – what he calls a natural finisher.
At the time Gayle was on loan there and was on the books of Dagenham & Redbridge and Fry signed him for Peterborough for £450K – but he played less than a season there before Crystal Palace signed him in the summer of 2013.
Barry Fry now Peterborough’s Director of Football
Barry Fry thinks Newcastle have a tremendous player in the making who could be developed by Rafa Benitez into an England International – he thinks the lad is that good.
This is what Barry has said today about the player expected to be announced today as Newcastle’s second signing of the summer:
“I saw him scoring goals and I knew from the moment I saw him he was going to be good. I phoned up my mate John Still and got him for £450K – we sold him seven months later for £6M.”
“And that wasn’t a bad price for Palace.”
“He’s a natural finisher. Newcastle fans know their football and they will like him, I guarantee you that.”
“He got 13 goals for us in five months in the Championship – and we got relegated. What he’s going to do with proper, top class midfielders and decent service I can’t imagine.”
“Newcastle fans should put their money on him to be top scorer in the league, honestly. I’ll be having a few quid myself.”
“He was unbelievable for us – absolutely unbelievable. The Geordies should be dancing in the streets that they’ve signed him, honestly.”
“With Rafa Benitez coaching him, those brilliant fans behind him and playing regularly he’ll be in the England team within a year or two.”
“It’s a brilliant buy for Newcastle – honestly, the fans should be made up. He’s the most natural striker of the ball I’ve ever seen – right foot, left foot, good in the air, he’s got the lot.
“He’s been Palace’s top scorer even though he’s not playing and every time I speak to anyone there they rave about him – so I can’t work out why they haven’t played him really.”
“Their loss is going to be Newcastle’s gain, I reckon.”
“He’s a nice lad – we used to ask him to do his community events and it was no trouble. He’s a good guy – I think he just wants to play football, which he hasn’t done enough.”
“They’ve had a rough few years, the Geordies, and that’s a shame because it’s one of the great clubs in England.”
“They’ve suffered for a while but looking at it from the outside it looks like Rafa has just lifted the mood completely up there, which is great.”
“They’ll be back and I’ll be behind them with Dwight doing the business.”
We’ve heard from a number of sources that Dwight is a smashing lad and he certainly showed a lot of patience at Crystal Palace with Alan Pardew not playing him too much – we suppose Alan doesn’t rate him.
If he’s as good as Barry says then Rafa could certainly turn the 25 year-old into a very good player as he did very quickly with Andros Townsend.
It will be interesting to see how Townsend at Palace and Gayle at Newcastle are doing in a couple of years down the road and whether Pardew can get the best our of Townsend as Rafa did.
What we’ve found in the short time that Rafa has been on board at Newcastle is that a world-class manager can very quickly improve players who have the talent.