Every summer, it’s the same – we need a goalscorer. Every winter window, we’re demanding we bring goals into the team, a so-called proven striker who will elevate us from the doldrums and into the promotion hunt.
Those who listen to the podcast, and those who read regularly, will know it is one of my pet hates. There is no such thing as a proven striker, there are only people with good records, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to be good when we sign them. We learned that from Joe Allon, for instance, a lethal striker almost everywhere he played. Tyler Walker did it for us, but since then, the ‘proof’ has proven to be false, and he’s struggled for Coventry and Portsmouth. We could sign Macaulay Langstaff tomorrow, and his 41 goals in the National League would mean nothing.
People tend not to believe me, they say I’m being facetious. I said it about Jack Marriott and Jayden Stockley at Fleetwood, claiming just because they’d scored in the past, didn’t mean they’d do it for the Cod Army. In fairness, both have an average return, but that’s not because of what has gone before.
Anyway, I had a hypothesis. A 20-goal-a-season striker really isn’t the key to success, and for the Imps, it isn’t really a thing. For instance, a player can reach 20 goals by banging in six or seven in the Papa John’s Trophy, which in the grand scheme of things (unless you win it) are pointless. They might smash home penalties as well, boosting the tally, but giving a slightly false reading in terms of their prowess in front of goal.
With that in mind, I decided to come up with a table, charting the leading scorer for Lincoln all the way back to the 1996/97 season. For each, I’d look at the leading scorer in the league only, how many games they started, how many they played (including subs) and how many goals they scored from open play.
I did it to ascertain how important Ben House has been this season, and where he ranks in terms of strikers over the last 27 years. The results are quite surprising. Read on to find out who our 20-goal strikers really are, who is most lethal from open play, who were the penalty kings, and who, in the past 27 years, really was the best striker (in terms of goals) we’ve had.
Disclaimer – this article only includes the leading scorer in the league each season