The Top 5 Greatest Striker Campaigns In Championship History

Published on 25 June 2023 at 13:00

It’s often cited as the toughest league in world football, and the marathon-esque nature of the EFL Championship means strikers have to be consistently scoring in order to help their team get promoted and reach the Premier League promised land. 


Here on HL Division Sport, we’re going to look back at some of the most legendary goal scoring seasons in the EFL Championship’s history, and rank the top 5 campaigns from strikers!


5)  Rickie Lambert (11/12)


Southampton may have only just seen their side get relegated back to the second division, but their successful promotion campaign back in 2011/12 was a major highlight in the lives of Saints fans, particularly for the magnificent performance of Rickie Lambert.


With 27 league goals (and 31 in all competitions), Lambert bagged four hat tricks across the campaign, including in big games against Watford and Millwall. Having scooped the League One Player of the Season award in 2010, it’s a testament to Lambert’s quality that at 29-years-old, he was able to so swiftly adapt to the next league up, winning the Championship Player of the Season in 2012.


Ask any Southampton fan who their best player was in the 21st century, and whilst the likes of Adam Lallana, Virgil Van Dijk and (for about six months) Graziano Pelle spring to mind, no one can deny the God-like stature Lambert had in the eyes of Saints fans in the early 2010s.


4) Shaun Goater (01/02)


Kevin Keegan may be most fondly associated with the ‘Entertainers’ he assembled at Newcastle United in the 90s, but his Manchester City side of the early 2000s was almost equally as ferocious and entertaining up top. 


Shaun Goater was the man tasked with leading the lineup that would eventually see Keegan’s Cityzens return to the top flight in convincing fashion. Having already won the club’s top scorer award for the three seasons prior, the Bermudian ace made it four-in-a-row with his 28 league goals catapulting him into Manchester City folklore.


“Feed the Goat and He Will Score” often chanted the Maine Road faithful, as Goater would end the 2001/02 Championship season as the division’s top scorer, with City having scored a mammoth 108 goals across the entire campaign! Staggering numbers that we much more expect to see in modern City teams. 


3) Ivan Toney (20/21) 


After a successful stint at Peterborough, Ivan Toney was brought in by high-flying Championship side Brentford to finally see the Bees reach the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Many doubted whether Toney had the potential to so easily jump straight from League One (where he had been top scorer) into a promotion battle. Any doubts were quickly dismissed as Toney soon dominated the pitch wherever he played. 


Establishing a record-setting goal tally across the league season of 31 goals, including a 100% conversion rate on nine penalties. Toney capped off his landmark debut season with a vital goal in the 2-0 play-off final win over Swansea, allowing Brentford to breathe the rarefied Premier League air for the first time. 


2) Glenn Murray (12/13) 


Wilfried Zaha may have been the player grabbing the headlines and the big money move to Manchester United, but there’s no doubt the real star in the Crystal Palace’s play-off winning side was talisman Glenn Murray. 


The previous record holder for most goals scored in a Championship season (before the aforementioned Ivan Toney came along), Glenn Murray’s 2012/13 campaign is nothing short of iconic in the eyes of Crystal Palace fans. Signed away from bitter rivals Brighton the previous year, Murray scored goals galore, reaching the unprecedented 30 goal mark before a serious knee injury against Brighton in the Play-Off Semi-Final ruled him out for the eventual triumph over Watford. 


A physical presence who capitalised on any opportunity given to him, Murray was the prototypical Championship striker, and the reason Palace haven’t looked back from the Premier League since his heroics in 2012/13.


1) Aleksandr Mitrovic (21/22)


It’s a simple fact of football: goals win games, and the player with the most goals stands head and shoulders above them all. 


Aleksandr Mitrovic was always labelled as being a ‘Championship’ striker at best, after a thoroughly disappointing Premier League relegation campaign the season before. Under new manager Marco Silva however, the Serbian striker was a player truly reborn.


Goals and awards ensured for Mitrovic at Fulham: by Gameweek 30, he had done the seemingly impossible and matched Toney’s 31 goal record with a baffling 16 games still left to play! Two months later came goal number 40, before a 7-0 romp of Luton saw Mitrovic surpass Guy Whittinham’s legendary record for most goals in a 46 game campaign with a truly astounding 43 goals scored.


It’s a record that will likely never be broken, and Mitrovic truly deserves it to remain that way. The springboard for his later success in the Premier League, Aleksandr Mitrovic produced quite simply the greatest season of all Championship strikers, but one of the greatest season we’ve seen from a player in all of the modern era. 


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