Crystal Palace fan gets the shirt off Gayle’s back - but he's still not his favourite player

Prized possession: Freddy Gill proudly shows off the shirt worn by Dwight Gayle during the 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage

Prized possession: Freddy Gill proudly shows off the shirt worn by Dwight Gayle during the 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage

First published in Sport
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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle had an end of season to remember, as did die-hard fan Freddy Gill.

Gayle banged in four goals in the final two Premier League games as the Eagles ended the season in style.

But his final impressive act came after the final whistle at Fulham at the season’s end, and left 13-year-old Gill with a memento he will always cherish.

And when the teenager saw his proudest moment on the back of the Croydon Guardian, he got in touch to reveal the story behind the picture.

He said: “The players came over to fans at end of game, and some were taking off their shirts.

“There were lots of stewards so they didn't get easy access to fans, but there was a gap near us so Dwight Gayle came over.

“I think he saw me as possibly the youngest fan and handed his shirt over.”

Gill, who says his favourite player is goalkeeper Julian Speroni, added: “I could not believe it, I am very lucky and I am going to hang it on my bedroom wall with the pictures from the paper.”

This Is Local London:

Cheers mate: Dwight Gayle gives the thumbs with Freddy in the background

According to dad David, it has been just reward for his son’s ardent support.

“When he was handed the shirt, I was very pleased for him,” he said.

“He eats, sleeps and breaths Palace, and has been loyally following them for the past seven years during some gloomy old Championship seasons.”

He added: “We had a chuckle as we'd been photographed in our seats during some home games.

“The photographer mentioned the paper at the time and we looked online as soon as the Fulham pictures were posted.”

Gayle’s goals in the 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage brought to an end Palace’s most successful season in the Premier League.

Freddy, who wants Palace boss Tony Pulis to sign Connor Wickham, said: “I thought we did very well to stay up and prove all the critics and pundits wrong, hopefully we can finish even higher next season.”

This Is Local London:

Still my favourite: Freddy Gill still prefers Julian Speroni over any other Palace man

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