Howard Gayle

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Howard Gayle
Howard Gayle.JPG
Gayle playing in a charity match for Liverpool in 2010
Personal information
Full nameHoward Anthony Gayle [1]
Date of birth (1958-05-18) 18 May 1958 (age 62) [1]
Place of birth Toxteth, Liverpool, England [1]
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) [2]
Position(s) Forward, winger
Youth career
1974–1977 Liverpool
Senior career*
1977–1983 Liverpool 4 (1)
1980Fulham (loan) 14 (0)
1982–1983Newcastle United (loan) 8 (2)
1983–1984 Birmingham City 46 (9)
1984–1986 Sunderland 48 (4)
1987 Stoke City 6 (2)
1987–1992 Blackburn Rovers 116 (29)
1992–1993 Halifax Town 5 (0)
National team
1984 England U21 3 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Howard Anthony Gayle (born 18 May 1958) is an English former footballer who played for Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Halifax Town, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Stoke City. [1]


Gayle began his career with Liverpool and made the headlines after becoming the first black player to play for the Anfield side. After loan spells with Fulham and Newcastle United he joined Birmingham City in search of regular first team football. He then played for Sunderland and had a short spell in the United States playing indoor football with the Dallas Sidekicks. He returned to England and played for Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers and ended his career with Halifax Town.

Club career

Gayle was born in Toxteth and joined the youth ranks at local side Liverpool in 1974. He signed a professional contract with the club in 1977 becoming the first black player to play for Liverpool which was seen as a 'victory' for the black community in Liverpool as Gayle explains.

"It was constantly in the press that I was the first black player to play for Liverpool. It was a landmark as far as black people were concerned, and I was proud to represent the black community of Liverpool"

Gayle on his important landmark. [3]

His finest hour for Liverpool came in the 1980–81 European Cup semi-final second leg away at Bayern Munich, and he was rewarded with a winners medal at the end of that season, as a non-playing substitute in the final. After loan spells at Fulham and Newcastle United he left Anfield after making just five appearances. In his 2016 autobiography, he alleged that veteran Liverpool teammate Tommy Smith was frequently racist towards him. [4]

Gayle joined Birmingham City where he played in the 1982–83 season scoring once against West Ham and then he hit 10 in 45 during the 1983–84 campaign. Gayle then signed for Len Ashurst's Sunderland where he became a popular player playing in two seasons before moving to the United States to play for Dallas Sidekicks in the Major Indoor Soccer League. [1] He returned to England in April 1987 to play for Stoke City playing six matches at the end of the 1986–87 season scoring twice in a 3–2 defeat against Bradford City. [1]

He then spent five years at Blackburn Rovers, signing for them in 1987 and being a regular striker in their quest for top flight football. However, by the time Blackburn were promoted in 1992 (to the newly created Premier League), Gayle had been left behind in the pecking order by expensively signed new players like Mike Newell and David Speedie, and with the arrival of national record signing Alan Shearer that summer, it was clear that Blackburn manager Kenny Dalglish felt that Gayle was surplus to requirements at Ewood Park.

Gayle joined Halifax Town in the newly renamed Division Three but managed just five league appearances as they were relegated to the Football Conference. After leaving Halifax he had a brief trial at Carlisle United, before retiring from football.

International career

As an overage player, he helped England win the 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, in which he scored a goal in the final against Spain.

Personal life

In August 2016, it was reported that Gayle had turned down a nomination for an MBE for his work with "Show Racism the Red Card", saying it would be "a betrayal to all of the Africans who have lost their lives, or who have suffered as a result of Empire." [5]

He released his autobiography in October 2016 titled 61 Minutes In Munich. [6]

Career statistics

Source: [7]

ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupLeague CupOther [A] Total
Liverpool 1979–80 First Division 0000000000
1980–81 First Division4100001051
1981–82 First Division0000000000
1982–83 First Division0000000000
Fulham (loan) 1979–80 Second Division 140000000140
Newcastle United (loan) 1982–83 Second Division8200000082
Birmingham City 1982–83 First Division131100000141
1983–84 First Division3384082004510
Sunderland 1984–85 First Division252107100333
1985–86 Second Division232201020282
Stoke City 1986–87 Second Division6200000062
Blackburn Rovers 1987–88 Second Division131000030161
1988–89 Second Division45193041635823
1989–90 Second Division365201020415
1990–91 Second Division244201000274
1991–92 Second Division4000201070
Halifax Town 1992–93 Third Division 5000000050
Career Total2474715024415330054
A.  ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the European Cup, Full Members Cup, Football League play-offs, Football League Trophy.


England under-21

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN   0-9524151-0-0.
  2. Jackman, Mike (1994). Blackburn Rovers: the official encyclopaedia. Derby: Breedon Books. p.  103. ISBN   1-873626-70-3.
  3. "Forgotten Heroes: Howard Gayle". This is Anfield. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  4. Gayle, Howard (3 October 2016). "Howard Gayle: I needed mental resilience to survive as Liverpool's first black player". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  5. "Ex-Liverpool player Howard Gayle turns down MBE". BBC. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  6. "Howard Gayle: I needed mental resilience to survive as Liverpool's first black player". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  7. Howard Gayle at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)