Romelu Lukaku’s two stoppage time goals in today’s 4-0 win over Hull City, took his tally of Premier League goals to 21 for the season, and in doing so became the first Everton player since Gary Lineker in 1986 to rack up 20 league goals. Lineker actually managed 30 league goals in his sole season on Merseyside (1985/86), before joining Barcelona, and is the last Evertonian to win the golden boot, a prize Lukaku heads this season by two goals from the currently injured Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
Everton’s top league goalscorers since 1985
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Everton’s top scorers over the last 30 years, have had disappointingly low goal tallies, averaging just over 12 goals per season, which might explain why the list isn’t restricted to just strikers. Recently there have been a couple of midfielders known for their heading prowess in the box, with Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini both featuring more than once as top scorers, as well as a couple of wingers on the list earlier in the era – Andrei Kanchelskis and Trevor Steven.
Trevor Steven’s ten penalties contributed heavily to him being top scorer in Everton’s last title winning season – 1986/87, putting his overall tally of 14 just ahead of Kevin Sheedy (13) and Adrian Heath (11). Sheedy’s 13 is the highest number of league goals in a season not to be Everton top scorer since 1986. For the next three seasons, 13 was the number of goals for the top scorer, firstly from Graeme Sharp and then from the first two of Tony Cottee’s five top scoring seasons. Cottee was top scorer for all but one of his six seasons for Everton, before his return to West Ham, with Peter Beardsley breaking up Cottee’s run in 1991/92. Cottee ended his Everton spell with his most prolific season – 16 in 1993/94.
Paul Rideout picked up the mantle in 1994/95, capping his best tally for Everton with an FA Cup final winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Manchester United. It was United who sold Everton their next top scorer after that match – Andrei Kanchelskis was deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford. This, despite Kanchelskis being United’s top scorer in 1994/95, form which he took to Merseyside and was Everton’s top scorer for 1995/96. Goodison Park fans favourite Duncan Ferguson was top man for the next two seasons. Ferguson was Everton’s overall Premier League top scorer, with 60 goals, until Lukaku overtook the Scot just two weeks ago with his consolation goal in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham.
The 1998/99 season was going badly for Everton with them in the relegation zone in early April, and having no player with more than four league goals. The crisis was averted by bringing Kevin Campbell back to the Premier League from Turkish side Trabzonspor. Campbell scored nine goals in eight appearances, which comprised three braces and a hat-trick, the goals coming in four wins that steered the Toffees to safety. While Campbell’s strike rate dropped off after his explosive start in blue, he remained top scorer for the next two seasons.
The 2001/02 season was Everton’s worst top league scorer total since the inaugural Football League season in 1888/89, with Ferguson and Canadian striker Tomasz Radzinski only managing six goals each. Radzinski improved in his second season in England (David Moyes’ first full one in charge of Everton), before a young Wayne Rooney was Everton’s top man in 2003/04 in his last season before impressing the world at Euro 2004 and leaving for Manchester United.
Australian midfielder Tim Cahill arrived at Goodison in the summer of 2004, and was top scorer in Everton’s best Premier League season – beating off city rivals Liverpool into fourth place. The next few seasons saw Everton go through a number of strikers who had impressed at other Premier League clubs. James Beattie arrived from Southampton having netted 23 goals for them in 2002/03, and Andrew Johnson had achieved an impressive 21 with a relegated Crystal Palace 2004/05. Both joined a couple of years after their 20 topping seasons, and both struggled to reach much more than half that tally for Everton in a single campaign.
Slightly more success was had with Nigerian striker Yakubu who had consistently hit over ten Premier League goals for Portsmouth and Middlesbrough in four consecutive seasons. However ‘The Yak’ could only keep this form up for just the 2007/08 season. Cahill and Fellaini shared the honours with eight each in 2008/09, before Louis Saha, another striker who had previously hit 20 Premier League goals (shared between Fulham and Manchester United in 2003/04), was top scorer with 13 in 2009/10. Cahill claimed the top scorer honours outright six years after he first had, with nine goals in 2010/11.
The 2011/12 season was similar to that of the 1998/99 one, where Everton were ailing mid season (albeit less dramatically this time and not looking in danger of relegation). No player had more than three league goals at the end of January, so manager Moyes brought in Rangers’ Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic whose nine goals in 13 games also brought more goals all round in the team, and a rise back into the top half of the table. Fellaini top scored in Moyes’ last season at Goodison, before he followed Moyes to Old Trafford. However, the Belgian didn’t manage a single goal in Manchester United colours under Moyes.
This leads us to the summer of 2013, where Roberto Martinez signed another Belgian – Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea. Lukaku has been Everton’s top scorer in every year since his arrival. With Everton’s next biggest goal sources this season – Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman – all seventeen goals behind Lukaku, on four each, he is well on course to be top scorer again. This means Lukaku will become the first player to be Everton’s top league goalscorer four consecutive seasons since Bob Latchford, who was top league marksman between 1975-1978. The last player to achieve five seasons running as sole top scorer is the legendary inter-war striker William ‘Dixie’ Dean who was Everton’s top league goalscorer eight years running (ten in total) between 1926-1933. Dean’s run is segmented by Everton’s sole season in the Second Division, but does contain the record 60 goals in 1927/28 – the highest tally by a player in a single top flight English league season. With Everton in a battle to offer Lukaku European football for next season, and with it looking unlikely to be that of the highest level, the Champions League, Lukaku may not stick around at Goodison Park to touch Dean’s history.