Salomon Rondon wore the shirt number last season while Gayle was on loan at Championship side West Bromwich Albion, but the Englishman was evidently expecting to get it back upon his return this summer.
Instead, though, it was given to the Brazilian and he has been shunted with the rather less glamorous number 12 shirt.
This is a sure fire way to annoy a player. There was simply no need to give Joelinton the number nine shirt at Gayle’s expense, or at least not to even discuss it with the 29-year-old first. The use of the word ‘miffed’ suggests that Gayle didn’t know that his shirt number was going to be given away until it happened, which is pretty inexcusable if true. It doesn’t take much to pick up the phone and let the former Crystal Palace man know that they’re going to give the number nine to Joelinton. They could then explain their reasons why, rather than the player just discovering later than somebody else had been given his shirt number. Unless Joelinton was absolutely desperate for the number then the club really didn’t need to do this. Steve Bruce was seemingly always going to give Gayle a chance this season, so he was going to need a shirt number. To take his existing one away, especially considering how meaningful the Newcastle number nine shirt is, was a needless slap in the face for him.