The Mike Ireson Column
There has been much talk recently of finding the elusive 20 league goals a season striker.
Someone to lead the charge by scoring frequently, and setting us on the road to success.
But are we kidding ourselves and placing too much emphasis on finding this Roy of the Rovers figure?
Looking back at what has been achieved most definitively points towards this goal machine being someone we just haven’t had, and maybe don’t need.
The last player to score 20 league goals in a top flight season was Tony Cottee thirty years ago (Teddy Sheringham and Trevor Morley have achieved it at Championship level)
Looking at this century we find that in most seasons the top 2 leading scorers don’t bag 20 league goals between them let alone having 1 all singing, all dancing scoring machine.
In the present run of 4 seasons in the Premier League the most anyone has managed is 10 (Sakho and Nolan)
In the 6 season spell between 2005 and 2011 Marlon Harewood in 05/06 topped the charts with 14. The average of the top scorer in that time was 10.
Paolo Di Canio in 99/00 notched 16 goals making him the top goal grabber this century.
In the 14 completed Premier League seasons this century the average tally of our top scorer is ……….10.
So is 10 league goals a respectable figure for our leading scorer to achieve?
Last season was a record breaking one in the league for us but our joint top scorers, Carroll and Payet only reached a total of 9.
So does this just mean we don’t play traditionally with the strikers expected to put the ball in the back of the net? A more all round attacking style of play from the full backs through the midfield means more players within the team are capable of scoring.
The 64 goals in the league last year were spread amongst 15 players, averaging a shade over 4 each.
Only Leicester (4) and Manchester City (+6) scored more goals than us.
On the flip side we conceded 51 goals. Greater than any team finishing above us in the table. And not just by a little bit. All 6 teams conceded at least 10 goals fewer.
Leicester won the league scoring just 3 more goals than us but conceding 15 less.
So surely our emphasis should be searching not for an elusive goal grabber but a quality goal stopper(s).
We have a rounded team of players capable of scoring and creating a goal, but not one of keeping the ball out of our own net.
So come the next transfer window let’s not get bogged down in dreaming of Roy of the Rovers, lets pray for no nonsense, unglamorous, meat and bones players who can help keep the ball out of our net.
Then let’s see how it pans out.