The 30 club: Seven players to hit 30 goals in the Premier League
Last season Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane rifled home 29 goals to win the Premier League’s much-coveted Golden Boot award. Without any shadow of a doubt, Kane would’ve happily swapped his top goalscorer prize for a league winners medal. But with an incredible haul of seven goals in Tottenham’s last two matches of the season, Kane did come within a whisker of joining a select band of footballers to have broken the 30-goal barrier since the Premier League’s inception in 1992. Here we take a look at the seven players who have achieved this unique feat to date:
After making the move to Kevin Keegan’s Championship-chasing Newcastle United in February 1993, Cole’s 12 goals in as many games ensured the Toon Army a return to the Premier League for the 1993/94 season where Keegan would pair him with new signing Peter Beardsley. Cole marked his first season in the top flight by plundering a staggering 34 goals in just 40 games including a stunning hat-trick against Liverpool to inspire Newcastle to an impressive third placed finish. He began the following season in similarly prolific form with nine goals in 18 league games but in January 2005 Keegan caused uproar on Tyneside by selling his prized asset to Manchester United. Such was the fallout from the move, King Kev felt obliged to speak directly to furious fans on the steps of St. James’ Park to explain the rationale behind letting his prized asset go. Cole went on to form a superb partnership firstly with Eric Cantona and later with Dwight Yorke at Old Trafford, winning five Premier League titles, two FA Cup winners medals and a Champions League crown in 1999 before hanging up his boots in 2008. However, despite 93 league goals in United colours, Cole never came close to matching that first incredible Premier League campaign in the famous black and white stripes.
Alan Shearer CBE
In 1996 Newcastle boss Keegan paid Blackburn Rovers a world record transfer fee of £15 million to secure the services of England forward and fanatical Geordie Shearer, who in the process spurned the overtures of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to return to his north east roots. The man with the oh so recognisable one-arm-in-the-air goalscoring celebration had spent four seasons in Lancashire after Blackburn owner and chairman Sir Jack Walker broke the British transfer record to secure his services from Southampton. Shearer was signed by Kenny Dalglish in 1992 to spearhead Walker’s dream of landing the biggest prize in English football, the Premier League crown. After joining Walker’s and Dalglish’s ambitious project, Shearer notched 16 goals in 21 games up until January 1993 before injury brought a premature end to his first camapign at Ewood Park. He returned the following season to fire home 31 goals, second in the charts only to Cole and inspire Rovers to runners-up spot in the final table. Following the arrival of Chris Sutton in the summer of 1994, Shearer and Sutton’s famed SAS partnership fired Blackburn to a first league title since 1914 with Shearer topping the goalscoring charts with 34 goals. He top scored once again with 31 goals the following season before moving to hometown club Newcastle where he would go on to further cement his status as the Premier League’s top goalscorer in history with 260 goals, before his retirement in 2006.
During the 1999/00 Premier League season Phillips’ 30 league goals for Sunderland saw him win not only the top goalscorer award in England but also the European Golden Shoe prize, becoming the first and to date only Englishman to win the prestigious award. Phillips formed a superb ‘little and large’ partnership with lanky Irish striker Niall Quinn during the pair’s five years playing together at the Stadium of Light. Phillips’ 30 goals and Quinn’s 14 strikes helped the newly-promoted Mackems finish in an impressive seventh position that year and when Phillips departed the north-east in 2003 he did so with an enviable record of more than a goal every other game on Wearside to his name.
Arriving from Juventus as a World Cup winner in 1999, Henry initially took time to settle in North London following a difficult spell in Turin. However, after finding his feet the ridiculously quick and talented Frenchman went on to become Arsenal’s record goalscorer with 226 goals during his eight seasons in English football, earning his rightful place as a club legend and Premier League great in the process. Henry’s finest season as a Gooner both personally and collectively came during the 2003/04 campaign, his 30 goals leading Arsenal’s undefeated Invincibles to the Premier League title, his second and last for the club. Henry departed Emirates Stadium for Barcelona in the summer of 2007, a year after the Catalan club denied him a Champions League winners medal in Paris. However, he delighted Gooners fans the world over in January 2012 when he returned to the club on loan for two months and notched two winning goals in seven appearances to extend his club record goals tally to 228.
When Ronaldo arrived in Manchester as a fresh-faced 17-year-old in 2003 tasked with replacing newly-departed superstar David Beckham nobody could have foreseen how the Portuguese would go on to become one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game. A winger for the majority of his career, Ronaldo recorded a total of 52 goals in his first five seasons at Old Trafford before firing home 17 goals to inspire United to a Premier League and Champions League double in 2008, securing a first Ballon D’Or prize in the process. His final season in Manchester was to prove his best individually as he rattled home 31 goals to secure his third consecutive Premier League winners medal and a first European Golden Shoe Award following a closely fought contest with fierce rivals Liverpool in 2008/09. Since departing for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for a world record fee of £80 million, Ronaldo has gone on to become something of a goalscoring sensation in the Spanish capital becoming Real’s leading goalscorer in history with mind-boggling figures of 406 goals in just 395 games including three Pichichi trophies, the Spanish equivalent to the Premier League’s Golden Boot award and three further European Golden Shoe winners awards. He has also added two La Liga titles, three further Champions League winners medals, a European Championship winners medal with Portugal and three further Ballon D’Or prizes to his ever-increasing list of medals and awards.
Robin van Persie
The Dutchman arrived at Highbury as a 20-year-old from Feyenoord in 2004 labelled as the heir apparent to aging Arsenal legend and fellow Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp. Following Bergkamp’s retirement at the end of the 2006 campaign, van Persie was expected to step up to the plate and become a crucial part of Arsenal’s first team but it wasn’t until the departure of Henry the following summer that van Persie really found his feet and assumed a role as an important fixture in Arsene Wenger’s line up. RVP as he became affectionately known by the Gooners faithful showed glimpes of his undoubted talent during his first six years in North London scoring 48 times in total. However, the 2010/11 season saw him finish the campaign with an impressive 18 goals to his name before he returned an even better total of 30 goals the following season after being named as Wenger’s new captain following Cesc Fabregas’ departure. Van Persie shocked the Emirates’ faithful during the summer of 2012 when he signed for arch-rivals Manchester United in search of silverware after just one FA Cup winners medal during his eight years in the capital. 25 goals later he achieved his aim by inspiring United to Premier League glory, his first and only and Sir Alex Ferguson’s last as a manager before his shock retirement in the summer of 2013.
In January 2011, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish secured the signature of prolific Ajax forward Suarez to replace club idol Fernando Torres following the Spaniard’s controversial £50 million move to Premier League rivals Chelsea. Suarez, who left Amsterdam with an incredible record of 81 goals in 110 league games, and club record buy Andy Carroll were expected to lead the club’s assault on a first Premier League title in over 20 long years. Although Carroll struggled to live up to his hefty £35 million transfer fee, Suarez embraced his new surroundings at Anfield and the famous number seven shirt previously adourned by club legend Dalglish. After 38 goals in his first two-and-a-half seasons on Merseyside, the Uruguayan’s final season in England saw him fire home 31 goals in just 33 games, giving him a share of the European Golden Boot award with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Coupled with strike partner Daniel Sturridge’s 20 league goals, Suarez inspired Liverpool to the brink of breaking their long wait for a league title only for the Reds to let their advantage slip in the final straight. A multi-million pound move to Barcelona followed in the summer of 2014 and after a clean sweep of domestic and Champions League trophies in his first season in Catalonia, his 40-goal second-season haul finally broke Ronaldo and team mate Lionel Messi’s six-year dominance of the Pichichi Trophy.
Another Kane hat-trick?
Kane may have missed out on adding his name to that illustrious list of goal-getters last season, but two Golden Boot awards in consecutive campaigns see him favourite at 11/4 to make it a hat-trick of wins come next May with bookmakers Sun Bets. He will face stiff competition however from Romelu Lukaku, who Kane beat into second place in the goalscoring charts last season and is now sporting the red of Manchester United. Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, who finished third last time out will also pose tough opposition once again if he remains in England as will new club mate Alexandre Lacazette and Chelsea’s new big money signing Alvaro Morata who has arrived in west London from Real Madrid.
As always Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero should be there or thereabouts having won the Golden Boot in 2014/15 and what money on veteran forward Jermain Defoe defying his advancing years to top the goalscoring charts after leaving relegated Sunderland for mid-table Bournemouth? Furthermore, will Kane or one of his peers break that magical 30-goal target next season?
Sources: espn.co.uk / independent.co.uk
Chris qualified from the University of Brighton in 2007 with a degree in Sports Journalism and is a sports fanatic, spending pretty much all of his money following the Welsh national football team all over Europe (and yes spending five weeks on tour with Wales in France at Euro 2016). He has written for numerous websites and has two fully published football biographies to his name. Chris also enjoys rugby union, cycling and politics and enjoys a regular (okay daily!) punt on football.