Has anyone scored more than Lionel Messi in one season? | The Knowledge
As Lionel Messi has scored his 55th goal of the season and looks set to get over 60, I was wondering who has scored the most goals in a singles season?" asks Thomas Stevenson, Mike Gibbons and others. "Dixie Dean is the only player I'm aware of that has more. He scored 67 in the 1927-28 season. Is that the best?"
Dixie Dean's effort of 67 goals (60 in the league, three in the Cup and four for England) is among the best ever but it was equalled by the beautifully named Archibald McPherson Stark, who also netted 67 times, during the 1924-25 season for Bethlehem Steel (a 44-game season) in the United States. The Scottish-born striker moved to America in his early teens and played for clubs such as Kearny Scots, Babcock and Wilcox and Erie AA as well as Bethlehem Steel. The five goals he got for USA in one of his two caps in 1925 do not count, however, as they were scored in November that year. Apparently he turned down the opportunity to go to the 1930 World Cup because he was just about to set up a new business. Priorities, priorities.
The almighty Ferenc Deak scored 66 league goals for Szentlorinc in post-war Hungary (the 1945-46 season) and, considering he scored 29 goals in 20 caps for Hungary, he may well have squeezed past Dean's and Stark's record but we have been unable to establish how many of his international goals he scored during the 1945-46 season. There is no doubt he was extremely talented – as well as a very handsome man, see No12 here – and it was a shame he was not allowed to move abroad at the time to test his skills in, for example, Spain, as Ferenc Puskas did a decade later.
When it comes to league goals only, Messi still has a few players in front of him but both he and Cristiano Ronaldo (who is on 48) can still catch these goal-getters: Refik Resmja (59 goals in the Albanian league, 1951), Héctor Horace Scotta (60 in the Argentinian league, 1975) and Pelé (58 in the Brazilian league, 1958). It is only March, though...
WHEN BEES (OR OTHER INSECTS) ATTACK (2)
In last week's Knowledge we looked at a few games in Brazil when bees attacked the players, leading the game to be abandoned or halted. Here is another insect-related incident from you.
"I remember Sampdoria v Pescara in 1993 (Serie A), when 20,000 bees descended on Gianluca Pagliuca's crossbar during half-time. The second half was delayed for 51 minutes," says Alessandro D'Agostino.
It is also worth noting that the goalscorers in that 1-1 draw were Roberto Mancini and Massimiliano Allegri, now managers of Manchester City and Milan.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PAULINO ALCáNTARA?
"I've seen everybody touting Messi's new total as Barcelona's all-time top goal scorer but everybody seems to be forgetting about this fellow, Paulino Alcántara," writes Michael Seddon. "Any idea why he seems to have been wiped out of the history books when it comes to Barcelona's top scorers?"
The answer is that, luckily, he has not been wiped out of the history books; he has just been shunted to the side, so to speak. Alcántara, the "Net Buster" as they called him, scored, depending on whom you believe, 357, 364 or 367 goals for Barcelona but several (more than 200, according to some) were scored in friendlies or lesser competitions. Barcelona, however, have not forgotten him and earlier this season the club made a presentation to Alcántara's granddaughters before the game against Sporting Gijon, marking the 100th anniversary of his Barça debut. His first match for Barcelona went OK as, aged 15, he scored a hat-trick in a 9-0 win. It was a sign of things to come. Messi, meanwhile, will probably need only a few more years to get to those 360-odd goals if he carries on as he is at the moment.
"Manchester United have won three away games by five goals this season, with 5-0 wins at Bolton, Fulham and now Wolves," writes David Sargent. "Has this ever happened in the English top flight before?"
Yes, but only once – and that was a long time ago. In 1892-93 Tom Watson's swashbuckling Sunderland side finished top of the league having won away against Aston Villa (6-1), Nottingham Forest (5-0), Accrington (6-0) and Manchester United (5-0). That makes it four away wins with a five-goal margin. United, by the way, finished last in the 16-team league while Watson went on to win a further championship with Sunderland before moving to Liverpool in 1896.
"Has any player ever scored more than once directly from a corner and, if so, who is the most prolific goalscorer from corners ever?" wondered Jimmy Thomson back in 2007.
Several players can claim to have scored more than once from a corner, Jimmy, but few can have been as cheeky, or, prolific, as Northern Ireland, Belfast Celtic and Glasgow Celtic legend Charlie Tully. It is reckoned he scored 11 in all but, according to Aidan McLaughlin, two in particular stand out. "Against Falkirk in a cup match in 1953 he scored direct from a corner but the referee ordered a re-take ... from which Charlie promptly repeated the trick," writes Aidan. "At Windsor Park a year earlier he scored from a corner again, this time in a 2-2 draw with England. However, he is more remembered for his pre-match chat with his marker Alf Ramsey that day:
"CT: 'What's it like to be an automatic selection for your country, Mr Ramsey?'
AR: 'It's an absolute privilege, Mr Tully.'
CT: 'Good, because you won't be one after today ...'"
Another famous threat from the corner quadrant was the Republic of Ireland's Steve Staunton. "He not only achieved this twice but did so in two international fixtures less than a year apart," writes Sheridan Elliot. "The embarrassed goalkeepers were Vitor Baia of Portugal, in a 2-0 win for Ireland in a June 1992 US Cup fixture, and Northern Ireland's Tommy Wright, deceived by the sharp trajectory of another Staunton special during a 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory in March 1993."
"I distinctly remember the mighty Paul Comstive scoring from a corner not once but twice in the rain on New Year's Day 1991 for Bolton Wanderers against Bournemouth," adds Mike Carter. "A quick check of Nigel Sheppard's excellent site confirms the two goals but, alas, doesn't indicate the bizarreness of them."
Other players who have been rather tasty at corners are Peter Beagrie ("he scored for Scunthorpe against Lincoln, Hartlepool and Cambridge," claims George Young), Bernd Nickel of Eintracht Frankfurt ("against Bayern Munich in 1975, Kaiserslautern in 1980 and Werder Bremen in 1981," says Christian Schuh) and Juan Román Riquelme ("a scorer for Villarreal against Mallorca and Alaves in 2005-06," writes Linda from New Zealand).
Former Turkish international Mustafa Denizli was suggested as a potential record holder with 18 corner goals but in following up this lead we stumbled upon the name of another legendary Turkish player, Sükrü Gülesin. "Between 1940 and 1954 he played for Beyogluspor, Besiktas, Palermo, Lazio and Galatasaray," writes Özgür Canba, a presenter on Radyo Spor (where even the odd Knowledge contributor can sometimes be heard on Monday evenings). "During his career he scored 226 goals; of these, 32 came directly from corners. In the 1950s this apparently appeared in the Guinness Book of Records as a world best. His major characteristic was that he could score these both from the left and right sides, even though he was left-footed."
For thousands more questions and answers, take a trip through the Knowledge archive.
Can you help?
"Last week Dean Shiels played for Kilmarnock in the Scottish League Cup final despite having had his right eye removed," begins Mark Robson. "I also remember a one-armed defender for Jeunesse Hautcharage of Luxembourg against Chelsea in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 (Chelsea won 13-0 for a 21-0 aggregate). My question is this: which professional player has been most successful with the most – or, perhaps, most dramatic – missing body parts?"
"Who is the highest qualified manager (ie, education wise) in the Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A? wonders Ammar Al-waeel.
"So far Exeter City have scored 12 away league goals all season but 33% of them came in a 4-4 draw at Bramall Lane," notes Doug Kirkpatrick. "Has a team gone a season scoring a higher percentage of its away goals in a single game?"
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