Hull City

Tigers 5s: Most Goals In A Single Season

20 March 2020
In the second of a regular feature looking at the top five in a variety of Hull City related topics, we continue with the five highest goal tally’s registered by Tigers’ players in a single season…

Bill McNaughton (1932/33)
41 league goals in 41 league appearances, plus one FA Cup goal and a Division Three (North) Championship medal to boot – it’s fair to say that Bill McNaughton probably classed the 1932/33 season as pretty productive!

His 42 goal haul is a club record that still stands today and included a four goal salvo against Barnsley, hat-tricks against Southport and Mansfield and numerous braces.

Equally impressive was the fact that he netted in 26 of the 45 games in which he featured that season and, without his goals, the Tigers wouldn’t have come close to winning the league title.

By the time McNaughton had left the club he’d scored an impressive 59 goals in just 92 appearances. He also left behind a record that has stood for nearly 80 years and will probably never ever be bettered.

John Smith (1907/08 & 1909/10)
Scoring over 30 times in one campaign is some achievement and in John Smith the Tigers had a striker who did it twice in the space of three seasons!

Having ‘warmed up’ with 19 goals during 1906/07, he went 13 better the following year to set what was a new club record at the time.

His candle didn’t burn quite so brightly the season after that, but by the time the 1909/10 campaign came around he’d rediscovered his touch in front of goal, bagging 32 goals in just 26 appearances.

Smith equalled his own record in the process with City only missing out on promotion from Division Two on goal difference.

The history books show that he scored 102 goals in 168 games for the Tigers but his career beyond that was very low key and after brief spells with Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest he drifted off into non-league football.

Ken Wagstaff (1965/66)
No Tigers supporter would be surprised to learn that ‘Waggy’ is the post-war club record holder for goals scored in a season.

Alongside his ‘partner in crime’, Chris Chilton, Wagstaff scored goals for fun throughout a career in the black and amber shirt that saw him voted as the Tigers’ greatest ever player during celebrations of the Club’s centenary in 2004/05.

The 1965/66 season was undoubtedly his finest hour as the 31 goals he netted helped City to become champions of Division Three.

They also enjoyed a terrific FA Cup run that year and a Wagstaff double had them 2-0 up at Stamford Bridge in a sixth round clash with Chelsea. Glory beckoned, but the Blues battled back for a draw before running out 3-1 winners in the replay at Boothferry Park.

But the Tigers – inspired by ‘Waggy’s’ goals – didn’t let that disappointment affect them and marched on to clinch the Division Three title in the weeks that followed.

Sammy Stevens (1914/15), Bill Bradbury (1958/59) & Keith Edwards (1988/89)
Small in stature he may have been, but Sammy Stevens’ reputation as a prolific goalscorer made him a big name in the game during the early 1900s.

He endeared himself to the City faithful almost instantaneously, rattling in over 40 goals during his first two seasons in the black and amber shirt.

But it was during 1914/15 that Stevens really came of age as he topped the magical 30 goals in a season mark. His partnership with Bill Halligan produced over 40 goals that year as City finished seventh in Division Three.

Stevens continued to find the net for the Tigers during the war years and beyond, before being sold to Notts County in 1920 to ease financial problems at the club. He had just the one season there before joining Coventry for the princely sum of £1,300. Cheap at half the price for a player with such an outstanding record in front of goal!

With an average of a goal every other game during his five years with the Tigers, Bill Bradbury is justifiably seen as one of the club’s greatest goalscorers.

There were more than a few raised eyebrows when he left Birmingham City to head north, but it was one of the shrewdest pieces of business that then City boss Bob Brocklebank ever did.

His impressive tally of 30 goals in just 45 league appearances during the 1958/59 season helped fire the Tigers to second place in Division Three which earned them promotion.

However, life in the second division was much tougher and Bradbury scored just six goals as the club were relegated straight back to Division Three.

Despite that though, the popular striker always maintained that the happiest years of his life were spent in Hull and when he died in 1999, his ashes were spread over Boothferry Park at his request.

It’s not often a side that finishes fourth from bottom of the division (narrowly avoiding relegation) and has a centre-forward that nets 30 goals, topping the score charts in the process.

But that was exactly the scenario during the 1988/89 season – City finished fourth from bottom of Division Two and Keith Edwards was the man with the eye for goal.

At that stage, the Middlesbrough-born striker was in his second spell with the Tigers following somewhat lean stints with Leeds United and Aberdeen. It was hoped that a move back to Hull would rekindle his goalscoring fire and that certainly proved to be the case.

Perhaps his most memorable goal during that 1988/89 campaign came when City gave star-studded Liverpool the fright of their lives before being edged out 3-2 in a pulsating FA Cup tie at Boothferry Park.

Paddy Mills (1928/29) & Stuart Elliott (2004/05)
Although born in Multan India, Paddy Mills was brought up in the distinctly less exotic, and local, Barton-Upon-Humber.

Mills’ first steps into the football world began with a stint at amateur level for Barton Town, before he joined the Tigers in a professional capacity in September 1920.

Easing into the side with four goals in 15 appearances during the 1920/21 campaign, Mills had established himself as a regular by the end of the following season, this time notching 12 goals in 26 games for the Tigers. What made this tally all the more special, was that nine of these goals were scored in a period of only four games – including four against West Ham, a brace against Leeds, and a hat-trick against Bradford Park Avenue.

Between 1923 and 1926 Mills was City’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons, with 1924/25 a personal highlight as he registered 29 goals in 41 games. At the time the hit-man was City’s only real goal-threat, as no other City player that season even reached double figures.

Stuart Elliott, meanwhile, enjoyed an impressive first two seasons in English football with the Tigers, scoring 26 goals in 83 games from the wing.

However, in 2004/05, Elliott’s strike rate soared as the Tigers registered a second successive promotion when finishing as runners-up in League One. The Northern Irishman’s tally of 29 goals in just 43 games was nothing short of remarkable – everything he hit or headed seemed to end up in the back of the net.

What made his tally even more impressive was that he missed six weeks of the season though injury with a featured cheekbone!