18 of the most unlikely individual goalscoring seasons ever
18. Paul Warhurst (18, 1992/93)
- Previous best: 1 (Oldham, 1989/90 and 1990/91)
- Best since: 3 (Crystal Palace, 1997/98)
Journeyman Warhurst turned out for 16 clubs throughout his career, and played pretty much everywhere on the pitch. In 1992/93, Sheffield Wednesday were suffering an injury crisis up front, and Warhurst was deployed to plug the gap.
The decision proved a masterstroke: the defender-turned-frontman grabbed 18 goals in all competitions as Wednesday reached the FA Cup and League Cup finals, and was later called up for England as a striker (but injury meant he never won a cap). A year later he was signed by Blackburn, where he picked up a Premier League winner's medal, before notable stints with Crystal Palace and Bolton were followed by a gradual descent down the English pyramid.
17. Steve Bruce (19, 1990/91)
- Previous best: 10 (Norwich, 1985/86)
- Best since: 7 (Man United, 1993/94)
Centre-back Bruce proved a reliable goal source throughout his career thanks to his set-piece bravery and decisiveness from spot-kicks, but never more so than in the 1990/91 campaign when he bagged an astonishing 19 goals in all competitions for Manchester United. With 13 of those coming in the First Division, Bruce ended up finishing the season as United's joint-leading goal-getter in the league that year.
16. Rogerio Ceni (21, 2005)
- Previous best: 8 (Sao Paulo, 2000)
- Best since: 16 (Sao Paulo, 2006)
Frustrated goalkeeper Ceni is the world's greatest-ever goalscoring netminder. He notched 131 times in a majestic 25-year career with Sao Paulo, which helped him to 16 Brazil caps from 1997 to 2006 (though he never actually scored for the Seleção).
Ceni enjoyed his best goalscoring season in 2005, when he netted an astonishing 21 goals for Sao Paulo. The set-piece specialist spent his entire career with the Tricolor and racked up over 1,200 appearances, meaning he holds two Guinness world records: one for the most games as captain of the same club, and another for the most games with one team.
15. Roque Santa Cruz (20, 2007/08)
- Previous best: 12 (Olimpia Asuncion, 1999)
- Best since: 12 (Malaga, 2012/13)
Santa Cruz was tipped for greatness when he arrived at Bayern Munich from his native Paraguay in 1999 – but suffice to say, it only came in one season. After eight stop-start seasons in Bavaria, Santa Cruz joined Blackburn for £3.5m and immediately impressed, netting 19 league goals for Rovers in his debut season.
Despite only notching three in his second, Manchester City boss Mark Hughes willingly chucked £17.5m at the player he'd signed for Rovers in 2007 – but the results were predictably dooming. Santa Cruz featured sporadically and scored only four times all season, before being loaned back to Blackburn (nine games, no goals), Betis (35 games, seven goals) and Malaga (the anomaly, with whom he came agonisingly close to the Champions League semi-finals).
Next: Where did it all go wrong?