Gerd Muller’s reaction to Lionel Messi’s astonishing goalscoring feat this week was both magnanimous and dignified. Everton FC legend Dixie Dean, most prolific goalscorer in English football history But was it accurate? Should that statement have read 84 years? Because another goalscoring genius once enjoyed a year just as prolific as Muller and Messi’s. On Sunday night Barcelona’s Argentinian genius scored his 86th goal of the calendar year, with three more games to play. It was widely publicised that Messi’s haul had overtaken the phenomenal German goal poacher Gerd Muller’s goal laden year of 85 in 1972. But Muller was probably unaware that almost half-a-century before his remarkable year, one of the greatest English goalscorers of all-time enjoyed his own remarkable year.
We live in a stats obsessed age. So little comment did Muller’s 85 goals arouse back in 1972 that German football historian Uli Hesse admits he wasn’t aware of Muller’s record breaking year until a few weeks ago. No-one has scored more goals in an English First Division season than Dixie Dean, who plundered a surely never to be broken 60 league goals in 1927/28. (Messi holds the La Liga record with 50).