One-club footballers or in other words one-team football players are by nature the most loyal players in football history, aren’t they? In this post, we are not only to football players who have played for Just one club but also the ones who have had the most number of appearances for their club.
You might expect great players like Ryan Giggs or Paulo Maldini to be at the top of the list, but although they are among the greatest one-club players of all time, did you know that a footballer from Northern Ireland and after him one from Turkey top the list of
most loyal football players
Who is that Irish footballer? For which club has he played? And how many appearances has he made for his club to deserve to top the list of most loyal players in football history? For now, just know that he has made more than 1000 appearances for his team.
Here comes the list of most loyal footballers in history with the Irish footballer, Noel Bailie, topping the list and great footballers like Ryan Giggs and Paulo Maldini sitting on 11th and 12th positions back to back.
Number one on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Noel Bailie has made a total of 1013 appearances for the top-tier Irish club,Linfield
, between 1989 and 2013 (22 years), however, since he was a midfielder, he only managed to score 11 goals in all these appearances.
And despite this number of appearances at league level (1013), Bailie never made an appearance for his country’s national team, however, he managed to win 10 Irish Premier League titles and 7 Irish Cups with the same team (Linfield) during his career.
The second footballer on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Said Altinordu is a Turkish passed footballer who made 847 appearances for the Turkish club,Altinordu SK
, between 1929 and 1956 (27 years).
If we were to sort the footballers in this post based on the number of years that they served or have served their respective clubs, then Altinordu would surely top the list of
most loyal players in football history
Like Bailie, Said Altinordu was also a midfielder, so he didn’t score that many goals for his team - only 29 goals in all his league appearances, however, the number of goals he scored are still higher than those of Bailie.
The passed Turkish footballer who died at the age of 66 also served his country’s national team between 1932 and 1937 and appeared 4 times for them with no goals scored.
The first goalkeeper on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Lars Hogh is a retired Danish goalkeeper who played all his career for only one club:Odense Boldklub
and for 23 years from 1977 to 2000.
Although Hogh was a one-club footballer during his footballing career, he is not a one-club manager; he has served 6 Danish clubs as a goalkeepers coach from 2003 to this date and in the 3 years between his retirement and his starting to work as a coach he served the club he had played for all his career (Odense Boldklub) as a sports director. One thing to notice about the 66-year-old retired Danish goalkeeper is that he won five Danish Best Goalkeeper of the Year awards during his career.
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The first English footballer on the list of
with most appearances in football history, John Trollope has made 770 appearances for Swindon Town between 1960 and 1980 - actually for 20 years - and even scored 22 goals for them despite being a left back.
Trollope also managed the team he played for all his career (Swindon Town) after his retirement; actually from 1981 to 1983. The only award Trollope won during all his career was the Football League Cup withSwindon Town
in 1968-69 season.
The second English and also the second passed footballer on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Jimmy Dickinson appeared 764 times forPortsmouth
during his career which actually lasted from 1946 to 1965 (19 years). He also scored 9 goals for the Pompey during this time.
Dickinson also served the English national team between 1949 and 1956 (7 years) and managed the team he played for all his career (Portsmouth) for two years between 1977 and 1979.
Dickinson did not win any award during his career but is named on the list of 100 Legends which is a list of 100 great footballers who played for all or part of their careers in the English Football League or Premier League.
football players who have played for just one club
during their careers, Roy Sproson is a passed English footballer who only appeared for the English club, Port Vale, during his senior career which lasted from 1949 to 1972 and also scored 30 goals for them during this time.
He was also a defender like John Trollope and also managed the team he played for all his career (Port Vale) after retirement; actually from 1974 to 1977. WithPort Vale
, Sproson won two league titles, namely Football League Third Division North in 1953-54 and Football League Fourth Division in 1958-59, and one Supporters' Clubs' trophy in 1959. He was also named Port Vale Player of the Year in 1967.
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The first Brazilian footballer on the list of
one-team football players
with most appearances in football history, Pepe is a 85-year-old retired footballer who played only for the Brazilian club, Santos, during his career which lasted from 1954 to 1969 (15 years).
Unlike other one-club footballers already mentioned, Pepe served as a striker and winger during his career, and that may be why he scored 405 goals in the 750 appearances that he made for his club, Santos.
Pepe whose real name is Jose Macia is one of the highest decorated footballers among the football players who have played for just one club. He has won 10 Campeonato Paulista - the highest tier of Brazilian football league system - titles plus 15 cups and other competitions titles withSantos
. He’s the only footballer on the list who has managed more than 20 club and national teams during his career as a manager between 1975 and 2005.
The first Argentinian footballer on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Ricardo Bochini is a retired footballer who served only the Argentinian club,Independiente
, during his career which lasted from 1972 to 1991 (19 years). He served the club as an attacking midfielder and scored 97 goals in the 634 appearances that he made for them only at league level.
If you ask us, Bochini is not a genuine one-club footballer, because he appeared once for an Argentinian club named Barracas Bolivar in 2007, however, since it’s just one appearance he could still be among the football players who have played for just one club during their careers. Bochini also served the Argentinian national team between 1973 and 1986 but scored no goals in the 28 appearances that he made for them.
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The second Brazilian and the fourth passed footballer on the list of
with most appearances in football history, Nilton Santos made 718 appearances for the Brazilian club, Botafogo, during his career which lasted for 16 years from 1948 to 1964.
Santos also served the Brazilian national team from 1949 to 1962 and even scored 3 goals in the 75 appearances that he made for them - he was a left back. Died at the age of 88, Santos won the Golden Foot award in 2009 and also was named in FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1958 and FIFA 100 list in 2004.
The third passed English footballer on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Joe Shaw only served the English club,Sheffield United
, throughout his career which actually lasted for 21 years from 1945 to 1966, and during this time he also scored 7 goals for them.
From among all the 714 appearances that Shaw made for Sheffield United 632 were at league level and 52 in FA Cup with the former comprising 88% and the latter 7% of all the appearances that he made for the English club.
The interesting fact about the passed English footballer who died at the age of 79 is that he’s a record holder concerning the number of overall (714), league (632) and FA Cup appearances (52) he made for Sheffield United which means no other Sheffield United player has ever made more appearances than him for the English club - in fact to this date - being it overall or at league or FA Cup level.
Another footballer from England on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Colin Cowperthwaite appeared for the English fourth-tier (EFL Leauge two) club,Barrow
, in 704 matches during his 15-year career which lasted from 1977 to 1992 and scored 282 goals for them in the process; two goals in every five appearances.
Cowperthwaite never served the English national team and never won an individual or club award during his footballing career but he has been named Barrow's greatest player of all time.
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the greatest one-club players of all time
, Ryan Giggs is a former Manchester United star who servedManchester United
for all his career; actually for 24 years between 1990 and 2014 and during this time he scored 114 goals for them.
Currently managing the Wales national team, Giggs has also played for the Wales national team between 1991 and 2007 and has scored 12 goals in the 64 appearances that he has made for them. He has also managed the team he has played for all his career (Manchester United) between 2014 and 2016.
The 46-year-old retired Welsh footballer is one of the most decorated footballers on the list of one-team football players with more than 20 individual awards. He has also won 13 Premier League titles with Manchester United.
Another footballer among the greatest one-club players of all time, Paolo Maldini is also the first Italian footballer on the list. He servedAC Milan
for all his career; actually for 25 years between 1984 and 2009 and during this time he made 647 appearances for Milan and even scored 29 goals for them despite being a defender.
Maldini is a product of AC Milan and played for Milan youth team for seven years between 1978 and 1985. A footballer who has only played for one club in its true meaning being it the youth or senior team of that club. This is what we call the
most loyal football player
ever or at least one of the most loyal football players ever. Because, as you know, that’s a rare case where a footballer has played only for the youth and senior teams of a club.
Maldini has also served the Italian national team between 1988 and 2002 during which he made 126 appearances and scored 7 goals for them. The 52-year-old retired Italian star is also among the most decorated one-club footballers with more than 20 individual honors, and has won seven Serie A titles with AC Milan.
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Occupying the 12th position on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history jointly with Paolo Maldini with 647 appearances, John McDermott is in another case just like Paolo Maldini, and that is he has also served just one club, namely the English club,Grimsby Town
, during his career in its true meaning.
We mean he is a product of Grimsby Town and has served only the English club youth and senior teams during his career which lasted from 1985 to 2007 (both youth and senior).
And during the time McDermott served Grimsby Town senior team (1987 to 2007) he scored 10 goals for them too. Currently serving the American club,Boston United
, as an assistant manager, McDermott is not so much a decorated one-club footballer as Paolo Maldini - he has only 8 honors in the bag some of them are not even titles. He has not even served his country’s national team.
And here comes the second Irish footballer and also the second goalkeeper on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history: Packie Bonner. He only served the top-tier Scottish club, Celtic, during his career which lasted 20 years from 1978 to 1998.
And from among all the 642 appearances that Bonner made for Celtic 483 were made at league level which actually form 75% of all his Celtic appearances. Bonner also served the Irish national team between 1981 and 1996 (for 15 years) and during this time made 80 appearances for them. He also won 4 Scottish Premiership titles, 3 Scottish Cups, and 2 Scottish League Cups withCeltic
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The first Dutch footballer on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Henk Bloemers served only one Dutch club, namely FC Eindhoven, during his career which lasted for 20 years between 1964 and 1984. And during this time, he even scored 58 goals in the 641 appearances that he made for the Dutch club which is quite good for a defender.
Bloemers never won an individual or club award and also never served his country’s national team, but was named the honorary member of the only club he served during his career, FC Eindhoven, in 2012. He died at the age of 69 and a stand in Eindhoven's home stadium (Jan Louwers Stadion) was named after him in 2006 in his memory.
Another passed footballer on the list of
with most appearances in football history, Harold Bell served only one club, namely Tranmere Rovers, during his career which lasted for 13 years between 1946 and 1959 and during this time made 633 appearances for them.
From among all the 633 appearances that Bell made forTranmere Rovers
595 were at league level which actually comprise 93% of all his appearances for the English club. And he also scored 11 goals at league level for them.
Maybe Bell did not win any individual or club awards during his career but he’s the holder of one record: the most number of consecutive appearances a player has ever made for a British football club.
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The second Turkish footballer on the list of one-club footballers with most appearances in football history, Bulent Korkmaz made 630 appearances for the Turkish top-tier club,Galatasaray
, during his career which lasted for 19 years from 1986 to 2005. And during this time he also scored 15 goals for them despite being a defender.
Korkmaz also served the Turkish national team from 1990 to 2005 and during this time made 102 appearances and scored 3 goals for them. Just like Paulo Maldini and John McDermott who are the product of the club they played for all their career, Korkmaz is also a product of Galatasaray and has played for 7 years between 1979 and 1986 for the Turkish club youth team.
The 51-year-old retired Turkish footballer is also among the footballers who have managed a number of teams after their retirement; actually 11 Turkish clubs and one Azerbaijani one from 2005 to this date.
Up to this point we have introduced 18 one-club footballers who made or have made the most number of appearances for their respective clubs with some of them even being record holders at their own clubs.
However, continuing the post in this fashion is out of our readers’ patience. So, we cut it short here by just mentioning some other one-club footballers, in brief, who come next on the list.
Jack Charlton, Club: Leeds United, Apps: 629, Years: 21, Ntl: English
Bob Ferrier, Club: Motherwell, Apps: 626, Years: 20, Ntl: English
Francesco Totti, Club: AS Roma, Apps: 618, Years: 25, Ntl: Italian
Maurice Malpas, Club: Dundee United, Apps: 617, Years: 21, Ntl: Scottish
Bob McKinlay, Club: Nottingham Forest, Apps: 614, Years: 20, Ntl: Scottish
Jean-Luc Ettori, Club: AS Monaco, Apps: 602, Years: 17, Ntl: French
Charly Korbel, Club: Eintracht Frankfurt, Apps: 602, Years: 19, Ntl: German
Tim Williamson, Club: Middlesbrough, Apps: 602, Years: 21, Ntl: English
Gunter Sebert, Club: Waldhof Mannheim, Apps: 592, Years: 21, Ntl: German
Ronnie Clayton, Club: Blackburn Rovers, Apps: 581, Years: 18, Ntl: English