Can Teemu Pukki write his name in Norwich City’s record books?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
He’s the goal scoring sensation of the season, but will Teemu Pukki be able to overtake some of City’s greatest ever marksmen? CHRIS LAKEY looks at the competition...
Teemu Pukki is on course to become one of the greatest goal scorers in Norwich City’s history.
The Finnish sensation has scored 23 goals in 30 Championship games this season.
With 13 league games remaining, and Pukki scoring an average of 0.76 goals a game, it means he would, at the current rate, crack the 30-goal barrier this season.
And only one other player has done that – way back in the 1955-56 season, when City were in Division Three South, Ralph Hunt scored 31 goals in 45 starts.
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Perhaps the most impressive was Thomas Hunt’s haul of 25 in 29 starts in 1929-30 – that’s 0.86 goals a game.
But Pukki looks an odds-on bet to surpass Hunt’s total.
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Only eight players have scored more goals in a season that Pukki’s current total. Grant Holt is the most recent, having helped himself to 24 in City’s League One title winning side of 2009-10. Jack Vinall also scored 24 in 1936-36.
Chris Sutton went one better with 25 in the 1993-94 Premier League season – a tally which equalled that of Thomas Hunt.
Two club legends bagged 26 in the early 60s – Terry Allcock in 1962-63 and Ron Davies the following season.
Percy Varco scored 29 in 1927-29.
Pukki’s scoring feats are extraordinary – and the bonus for City is that he is not only the scoring sensation of the season, but also the bargain of the season, having been signed for free from Brondby last summer. And, in keeping with Daniel Farke’s footballing philosophy, Pukki has provided six assists this season – arguably none better than the pull-back for Marco Stiepermann’s goal at Bolton at the weekend, when the Finn added another two to his tally in a 4-0 win.
In his 30 games, Pukki has played 2,662 minutes and his goals have come on average every 116 minutes.
Curiously, despite a goal record of one every two league starts for Celtic, Pukki was regarded as something of a failure north of the border. He joined Celtic in the summer of 2013 from German club Schalke for a reported £3m but lasted just one season.
Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas at the weekend took some of the blame away from the player himself.
“What we did see at Celtic was his movement was decent, and he didn’t always get the service he was looking for,” he said.
Pukki himself thinks the spell at Celtic Park actually benefited him – and, by extension, Norwich.
“Physically I was not strong enough to play at Celtic and I know myself it was not my best time as a football player, for sure,” he said. “But I think without that experience it would be much harder here now as well.”
Daniel Farke certainly appreciates his Fabulous Finn.
After the Bolton game, he said: “What more is there to say about Teemu? I work with him every day. I see his quality and maybe even more importantly his character; not just his goals but his work rate without the ball and willingness to link the play.
“The assist for Marco was world class, with his movement and the precision of his cutback. We are happy to have him. He creates so many gaps for his team-mates.”
So, back to his scoring ‘rivals’.
There won’t be many who recall the likes of Varco – whose haul included 10 goals in his first seven league games – the two Hunts or Jack Vinall. But the more recent vintages are fresh in the minds of a few.
Allcock is, quite rightly, a club legend: he played 389 games for City and his 127 goals place him second on the all-time scorers’ list, five behind Johnny Gavin.
A year later Davies was taking the plaudits, averaging more than a goal every other game in his three seasons at Carrow Road.
Sutton was a scoring phenomenon who became a British record transfer sale when he left City for Blackburn for £5m in the summer of 1994 – Holt was rather the other end of the scale, having plied his trade around the lower divisions before Bryan Gunn signed him from Shrewsbury in 2009 for £400,000 – another bargain.
They are all to some extent or another, heroes to Norwich City fans... although modern day football is a very different beast. Pukki’s scoring feats have attracted unwanted attention – old club Celtic are among those who have been linked with City’s gem. Plus, the average tenure of a player at one club is nowhere as long as it used to be, which is why Pukki is unlikely to trouble the likes of Gavin, Allcock and Iwan Roberts at the top of the all-time scorers’ list... but if he did decide to buck the trend and hang around, who knows?
Best season hauls
Player Goals Division Season
Ralph Hunt 31 Div 3S 1955-56
Percy Varco 29 Div 3S 1927-28
Terry Allcock 26 Div 2 1962-63
Ron Davies 26 Div 2 1963-64
Thomas Hunt 25 Div 3S 1929-30
Chris Sutton 25 Prem 1993-94
Jack Vinall 24 Div 2 1935-36
Grant Holt 24 Lge One 2009-10
Ted MacDougall 23 Div 1 1975-76
Teemu Pukki 23 Ch’ship 2018-19