Harry Kane has become the first Tottenham Hotspur player to net 20 league goals in three consecutive seasons since Jimmy Greaves in the late 1960s. Kane scored a solitary goal in today’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth, which took Spurs’ top scorer to 20 Premier League (PL) goals for the season. The goal, scored in the opening minutes of the second half, comes after being stuck for six weeks on 19 goals, following injury.
Spurs players to score 20+ league goals in the last 50 years
Prior to Kane, Gareth Bale is the only player this century to break the 20 league goal barrier for Tottenham. Having scored 21 PL goals for Spurs in his first five seasons with the club, his impressive 2012/13 season saw him add another 21 PL goals to his overall tally, before departing for a then world record transfer fee to Real Madrid that summer. Bale had become the first player to score 20 PL goals for Tottenham in 18 years, the likes of Keane and Defoe regularly hitting more than ten PL goals-a-season in this period, but never troubling the 20 mark.
German striker Jurgen Klinsmann became the first foreign player to score 20 PL goals in a season, 1994/95 being his only full season in the PL. Two seasons earlier, another striker scored 20 goals in his first season with Tottenham – Teddy Sheringham. Having joined Spurs from Nottingham Forest a few games into the 1992/93 season, Sheringham claimed the first PL Golden Boot despite scoring just 6 PL goals in the first half of the season. Sheringham was signed to replace Gary Lineker, who scored over 20 league goals for Spurs in two of his last three seasons in England, before ending his career in Japan.
In the last 50 years, Clive Allen is the only Tottenham player to score more than 30 league goals in a season, with his prolific 1986/87 campaign seeing him score 33 times for Spurs. Strangely, in his 15 year career, Allen never managed more than half of that tally in any other season in the top flight. Mark Falco and Steve Archibald (twice) crept over the 20 league goal marker in the first half of the 1980s, while John Duncan scored 20 league goals in 1975/76. That was the season before Tottenham were last relegated out of the top flight, and spent a single season in the second tier, before returning to Division 1 at the first attempt. Despite scoring 83 goals in that 1977/78 Division 2 campaign, Duncan top scored with a relatively low 16. In contrast, Spurs only scored 54 goals in 1970/71, the first of Martin Chivers’ 20 plus seasons.
This takes us to the 1960s, and a decade in which Jimmy Greaves dominated the top scorer charts for Tottenham. He began his Spurs career with four consecutive seasons bettering 20 league goals from 1961/62, and if it weren’t for an injury troubled 1965/66 season he may have managed eight seasons in-a-row. This, as Greaves bounced back to score more than 20 league goals in each of the three seasons after the 1966 World Cup.
Harry Kane: the journey from bit part player to becoming the country’s top striker
Only the fourth player to score 20 Premier League goals in three consecutive seasons
The PL’s overall top scorer, Alan Shearer, actually managed three consecutive seasons of 30+ PL goals at the start of the PL era, all for Blackburn Rovers. However, the first two of these seasons were in 42 game seasons. After Shearer moved to Newcastle United in the summer of 1996, he extended his run to four twenty topping seasons, before injury restricted the then England captain to just two PL goals in 1997/98. Shearer still had three further seasons where he bettered 20 league goals, but none of them were consecutive seasons.
Shearer’s four consecutive seasons were out done by Arsenal’s Thierry Henry who managed five in-a-row in the early 2000’s. In fact the Frenchman’s minimum tally between 2001/02 and 2005/06 was an impressive 24 goals. Henry and Arsenal were competing at the top of the PL against Manchester United and Ruud van Nistelrooy in this era, and it is the Dutchman who is the other member of this exclusive club. Like Shearer, van Nistelrooy was prevented by injury from extending his run to five seasons, as the 2004/05 campaign is his only season in England where he failed to reach the 20 goal milestone.
One thing that sets Kane apart from these three players, is his age. When they scored 20 goals for the third consecutive season, van Nistelrooy was aged 27, Henry 26, and Shearer 25. Kane has trumped them all, and not just by days, but a few years! In actual fact, 23 year-old Kane is the youngest player to achieve the feat of scoring 20 top flight league goals in three consecutive seasons since Jimmy Greaves. The fellow East-Londoner burst onto the First Division scene as a 17 year-old for Chelsea in 1957, scoring 22 league goals in his debut season, and had the achievement complete by the time he was just 20 years old. However, Greaves is better remembered as a Tottenham player, who he joined in 1961. Greaves is the club’s all time top scorer with 266 goals in all competitions, and the only Spurs player to score over 200 league goals, with 220, and was the Division 1 top scorer four times as a player whilst with Tottenham (including once shared). Kane has a way to go to match those records by Greaves, but with his 24th birthday not till the summer, and playing in the most successful Tottenham team since the early 1960’s (the last time Tottenham had a league finish in the top two was 1963, Greaves’ first full season with Spurs), Kane has plenty of time to try and break some of Greaves’ impressive records.