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History

RECORD BREAKERS: Sky Blues record top flight goal scorers

5 May 2020

Ian Wallace holds the Coventry City record for firing the most league goals in a top-flight season thanks to his 21-goal haul in the 1977/78 league campaign.

The 20-year-old Scottish striker was signed from Dumbarton in 1976 for £40,000 by Gordon Milne and enjoyed a prolific ‘little and large’ partnership with Mick Ferguson in the late 1970s – Ferguson netting 17 in that same campaign as Wallace set his record and City finished 7th in the old First Division.  

A deadly finisher, Wallace had the ability to net a range of goals - volleys, tap-ins and headers, or his trademark overhead kick.

Wallace’s form earned international recognition and the attention of other clubs, and he moved to European Champions Nottingham Forest in 1980 for £1.25 million – a big sum at the time - bringing an end to a Sky Blues spell that had spanned four years and brought 60 goals in 140 games.

He would go on to also top the goalscoring chart for Brian Clough’s side, though not to the same level as at Highfield Road, and after leaving Forest in 1984 he would take in France, Spain and Australia in the rest of his career.   

In a further 20 plus years of top-level football, no player managed to hit more than 20 goals in a league season.

However, Dion Dublin stands head and shoulders above anyone else when it comes to scoring Sky Blues goals after the Premier League was formed in 1992, and he managed 23 in all competitions in the 1997/98 campaign.

Signed from Manchester United for £2 million, he scored on his City debut in 1994 and became one of the prolific goal scorers in the Club’s history.

“I usually managed to get around 15 to 20 goals a season and would be disappointed if I didn’t,” Dublin told the Sky Blues programme in 2010.

“I always played up front from when I was a kid and just loved scoring goals. It is the bit everyone really enjoys and I was lucky to get the chance to do it.”

Dublin played a major role in maintain City’s Premier League status for so long, but it wasn’t all about escaping relegation.

His partnership with Darren Huckerby was one of the most feared in the country at the time, and in the 1997/98 season Dion got 18 Premier League goals – making him joint top scorer in the competition alongside Chris Sutton and Michael Owen, and putting him second in our list. Huckerby scored 14 goals in the same campaign, as City finished 11th in the table and Dublin won an England cap.

The third place slot is a joint one between Mick Ferguson (1977-78), Terry Gibson (1983-84) and Micky Quinn (1992-93) – each of these men getting 17 goals in those seasons.

Having a prolific marksman (or two) leading the line always helps a side hugely, and that shows in the effect on a team when the goals do dry up.

In the season when City sadly succumbed to relegation from the top flight, the joint top scorers had just 6 goals each. Craig Bellamy and Mustapha Hadji took the full season to get to that figure, but John Hartson reached the figure in 12 games. Sky Blues fans were left to wonder what might have been if Hartson, brought to the club in February of the campaign, had joined the campaign earlier.

Goals Player Season
21 Ian Wallace 77-78
18 Dion Dublin 97-98
17 Mick Ferguson 77-78
17 Terry Gibson 83-84
17 Micky Quinn 92-93
15 Ian Wallace 78-79
15 Terry Gibson 84-85
14 Neil Martin 69-70
14 David Cross 75-76
14 David Speedie 88-89
14 Darren Huckerby 97-98
14 Dion Dublin 95-96
13 Brian Alderson 72-73
13 Mick Ferguson 76-77
13 Ian Wallace 79-80
13 Mark Hateley 81-82
13 Dion Dublin 96-97
13 Dion Dublin 94-95

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