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Top 20 all-time prolific goalscorers in Sunderland’s history: Part II - 1-10!

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I’m sure that most of us know who the top goalscorers are in Sunderland’s long and storied history, but who are the most prolific? We takes a look at the top twenty, finishing up with our top ten in Part II!

Soccer - Nationwide League Division One - Sunderland v Portsmouth Photo by Bob Collier/EMPICS via Getty Images

Using the goals per game ratio to make the list, the only rules to making the list is a minimum of forty appearances and if two players have the same ratio, the player with the most appearances is higher in the higher position.

Here is our final countdown looking at our top ten...


10. Dickie Davis 1946-1954 (Goals per Game = 0.52)

Before Kevin Phillips came along Richard Davis was the last Sunderland player to finish as the leading scorer in the top tier of English football. Scoring a total of 80 goals in 154 appearances, Davis makes our top ten.

Paul Days Collection
Dickie Davis in action for Sunderland against Blackpool in 1949.
Photo by ncjMedia Ltd/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

9. Nicky Sharkey 1959-1966 (Goals per Game = 0.53)

Almost splitting his goals 50/50 between the top two tiers, Dominic ‘Nick’ Sharkey would score 17 goals to fire Sunderland back to Division One in 1963/64. He would finish at Sunderland with 62 goals in 117 appearances.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Leyton Orient v Sunderland
Nicky Sharkey (right) alongside William McPheat ahead of a Division Two clash at Leyton Orient.
Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

8. Charlie Buchan 1911-1925 (Goals per Game = 0.54)

He may be our second highest all-time scorer, but Charles Buchan makes number eight on our list. A man who had a profound impact on the game during his career and also after as a career as a journalist, working for the BBC as well as editing ‘Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly’. Despite the interruption of World War I, his Sunderland record would end with an incredible 222 goals in 411 appearances, and include a League championship medal in 1913.

First Day Fixture
Charlie Buchan in his role of captain of Arsenal.
Photo by E. Bacon/Topical Press/Getty Images

7. Kevin Phillips 1997-2003 (Goals per Game = 0.55)

Our first modern day footballer makes our top ten at number seven. Nobody could have dared to predict what he would eventually achieve on his time at Wearside after joining from Watford, except maybe the man himself. I feel privileged all these years later to have witnessed his time at the club. He became the Premier League Golden Boot winner and European Golden Shoe winner in 1999/2000, making him to this day the only Englishman to win the award. A total of 130 goals in 235 appearances making him 6th all-time top scorer for the club, makes him one of the clubs all-time greats.

Sunderland QPR Phillips celeb
Super Kevin Phillips.
Photo by Tom Buist - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

6. Darren Bent 2009-2011 (Goals per Game = 0.57)

I was quite surprised Darren Bent made it this high onto our list. By far our lowest total in the top ten with 36 goals but he achieved this in only 63 games for the club. In 2009/10 he scored 50% of all our Premier League goals and unsurprisingly won player of the year. Despite these accolades I find myself asking about what might have been.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sunderland - Premier League
Darren Bent scoring at Wolves in 2010.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

5. Charlie Fleming 1955-1958 (Goals per Game = 0.58)

Our fifth player in the list who played for the lads during the 1950’s, his form prior to Sunderland’s relegation in 1958 had kept Sunderland afloat until the goals dried up and we finally dropped out of the top tier for the first time. In doing so, Fleming racked up an impressive 71 goals in 122 appearances to make our top five.

Soccer - FA Cup - Semi Final - Birmingham City v Sunderland - Hillsborough, Sheffield
Charlie Fleming in action during an FA Cup semi-final defeat Vs Birmingham City at Hillsborough in 1956.
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

4. Bobby Gurney 1926-1944 (Goals per Game = 0.58)

Our all-time top scorer with 228 goals makes number four on our list. Silksworth born Robert Gurney stayed with the club for twenty-two years stretching out over the war period. His honours would include a League championship from 1936 and an FA Cup winners medal from 1937. He would be a fantastic ambassador for the club until his death in 1994.

Paul Days Collection
Booby Gurney (second from the left) with the Sunderland squad in 1931 relaxing in the build up to an FA Cup semi-final clash with Birmingham City.
Photo by ncjMedia Ltd/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

3. Trevor Ford 1950-1953 (Goals per Game = 0.60)

We now move into our final three with another striker from the 1950’s. Ford would end as Sunderland’s top scorer in three consecutive seasons, all ending in mid-table mediocrity. After only three years with the club, all in the top flight, his record at the club would read 70 goals in 117 appearances.

1950 TREVOR FORD
Trevor Ford warming up ahead of a game for Sunderland in 1950.

2. Brian Clough 1961-1965 (Goals per Game = 0.85)

Despite only playing a season and a half for Sunderland, Brian Clough is our runner-up. Scoring 29 League goals in his first full season and then being top scorer in his second season with 24 goals despite his season being over through injury from Boxing Day, his record was incredible. Ending with a stunning total of 63 goals in 74 appearances, we all know how he turned out as a manager, but we will never know what levels Clough might have reached as a player.

Soccer - League Division Two - Chelsea v Sunderland - Stamford Bridge
Brian Clough in the red and white of Sunderland ahead of a clash Vs Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

1. Dave Halliday 1925-1929 (Goals per Game = 0.94)

Our top spot goes to the clubs third all-time scorer, David Halliday. He was top scorer for each of his four seasons with the club and no player has since reached his worst end of season total. He is still Sunderland’s highest ever scorer in a single League season with 43 goals in 42 League games in 1928/29, as we finished five points of top spot in Division One. A total of 165 goals in 175 appearances, means that at almost a goal a game, Dave Halliday takes our top spot.

Soccer - Football League Division Three South - Clapton Orient
Dave Halliday in Clapton Orient colours who he joined four years after leaving Sunderland in 1929.
Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images