Wed 02 December 2020 | 11:30

Burnley Top Scorers of All Time

In its rich history, Burnley FC had some great footballers, in this article we will take a look at Burnley FC history and introduce you the top scorers of this great club at First Division and Premier League level.

Burnley FC is a professional English football club and one of the oldest of them which became professional in 1883. The club plays in the Premier League having promoted to the highest level of English football in 2009.

In this article of SportMob, we want to take a look at this club’s history and introduce

Burnley Top Scorers of All Time

. We should note that to rank the highest goal scorers in Burnley of all time we have only took into account the goals scored in English top tier football which is First Division and Premier League. Before getting to the list, let’s take a brief look at this club’s history.

Burnley FC

was established in 1882 when the Burnley Rovers Rugby Team converted into a football club. Since its establishment in 1888, the team is a part of the Football League. Through the years the team has won the league for 2 times in 1921 and 1960 and the FA Cup once in 1914. Jimmy Adamson, Tom Boyle, Bob Kelly, Jerry Dawson, Jimmy Mcllroy and John Connelly are among the greatest names in the club's history.

The club played their first-ever game as an FA club versus Burnley Wanderers on August 10, winning 4-0. In a blue and white jersey, the colors of the old rugby club, the team won that match at their home stadium, Calder Vale. In October 1882, Burnley's first competitive match was with Astley Bridge in the Lancashire Cup, which resulted in an 8-0 loss.

All-time top goal scorers in Burnley history

Now that we know a little more about this club’s history, it is the time to get down to the list of top scorers in Burnley of all time and see who tops the goal charts in the history of Burnley FC. However, we should note that this list is based on the goals scored on either the English First Division or English Premier League.

Frank Casper – 155 Matches, 44 Goals

Frank Casper, one of the Burnley top scorers of all time, is one of the living legends of the club, who played for Burnley for around 9 years between 1967 and 1976. He is the only player in our list of Burnley highest goal scorers of all time that after retiring from playing football became a coach and managed Burnley.

Having started his career at

Rotherham United

, in June 1967, Casper moved to Burnley for a sum of £ 30,000, which was the club's most major transfer since the signing of Alex Elder in 1959. He netted versus Coventry City on his very first Burnley match and continued scoring 5 goals in his first 5 matches with the club, and in both of his first two seasons at Burnley, he became the club's highest scorer. He was left without a good forward partner after the departure of Willie Irvine, then Andy Lochhead. He was injured for half of the 1970–71 season and the club was relegated from the top tier that year.

Until the mid-1970s Frank proved to be a significant part of the Burnley attack and forged a fruitful relationship with Paul Fletcher, which helped the club gain the promotion to Division One in 1972-73. After an injury in a match against Leeds United in 1974, Casper's first-team performances were reduced and his last team appearance was at a match with Norwich later in 1976 before retirement. He then joined the Burnley team as a youth team coach. It is without a doubt the Frank Casper is amongst the Burnley top goal scorers ever.

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highest goal scorers ever


Brian Pilkington – 300 Matches, 67 Goals

Having played 300 league matches for


between 1951 and 1961, Brian Pilkington was one of the most loyal Burnley FC players and with 67 goals he is amongst the

Burnley top scorers of all time

. Pilkington started his football at the youth teams of his hometown club Leyland Motors FC in 1950, he was signed by Burnley in April of 1951, and however, it took him around two years to become a first-team player at the club, which happened after the departure of Billy Elliot to


in 1953.

He was called up to the British Royal Air Force in February of 1954 and was stationed at Royal Air Force Kirkham, however during this time he kept playing for Burnley. Pilkington featured in over 340 league and cup matches for Burnley throughout his career, scoring 77 goals.

He missed just one match throughout Burnley's truly historic 1959/1960 season and scored 11 goals, notably the first goal against Manchester City in the 2-1 victory that crowned Burnley champions that year. As one of the highest goal scorers in Burnley of all time, Pilkington proceeded to play for the Burnley the next season, netting his last goals for the team in the win over Hamburg in the European Cup match.

Gordon Harris – 258 Matches, 69 Goals

One of the

Burnley top scorers of all time

, Gordon Harris is one of the few midfielders in our list of all-time top goal scorers in Burnley history. Born in 1940, he signed for Burnley in 1958 when he was just 18 years old and after playing with the team for 9 seasons, he moved to Sunderland. A strong, quick, and powerful player he had a rocket of a left-foot shot, and because of that fans gave him the nickname of Bomber Harris.

He has played 313 league and cup games for the club, scoring 81 goals. He also scored two hat tricks. The first did come in the debut League Cup season versus


. At a time when he was only a second-team player, Burnley won that match 4-0 at Ninian Park. The second hat trick came in another 4-0 win this time on the first day of the 1966/67 season at home against Sheffield United.

With 258 matches and 69 goals in top tier league level, Gordon Harris is one of the top scorers in Burnley of all time.

Bill Holden – 187 Matches, 73 Goals

Bill Holden, born in Bolton, England in 1928, was a former


footballer who played 187 league matches for the club between 1949 and 1955, scoring 73 goals and becoming one of the Burnley top scorers of all time. It was at Burnley that he earned a reputation as a strong goal-scoring centre-forward and gaining international recognition with an England ‘B’ cap versus Scotland in 1953.

1952/53 was the best season for Holden with the number of goals he scored for the club, however, he wasn't really able to replicate his goalscoring feats of that season again, but he had two more good seasons with Burnley before, somewhat shockingly, losing his spot in the team at the start of the 1955/56 season to young striker Peter McKay, despite having been the top goal scorer in the prior season and one of the

Burnley top goal scorers ever

. He appeared at the first two matches of the season, and those matches were his last for Burnley.

Willie Irvine – 126 Matches, 78 Goals

The only Burnley player with a higher than 0.6 goal ratio in our list of Burnley top scorers of all time, Willie Irvine is one of the best attackers in the history of Burnley FC. He played 126 league matches for the clubs during his 8 years career at Burnley between 1960 and 1968, before moving to play for Preston North End.

Surely this club has had some good attackers, or center forwards in its history and over all these years, but almost none of them have been able to match the goal-scoring feats of Willie Irvine who for around two and a half years, was just as good as anybody in British football when it came to placing the ball in the net.

Since sustaining a fractured leg in a cup match in 1967, Irvine lost his spot in the Burnley side and never regained his club form properly. When that injury arrived, he was just 23 years old, and you have to ask what he could have accomplished if he had been completely healthy during his career. He will definitely have exceeded any record of Burnley's goalscoring and got a better place in the list of Burnley highest goal scorers of all time.

Jimmy Robson – 202 Matches, 79 Goals

Jimmy Robson is always remembered as one of the Burnley top scorers of all-time between the club fans and supporters, a player who managed to score 79 league goals during his 9 years spell with Burnley. The FA Cup Final goal for Burnley by Jimmy Robson hung in the country's ever boardroom. That was the first-ever Wembley goal of Burnley and it was portrayed in a drawing given to ever club because that was the 100th FA Cup final goal at Wembley.

And for Jimmy Robson, 100 proved to be an important number. That was the number of goals that he scored for Burnley in both league and cup matches. The first of those goals came in the 1956/57 season on his first match for the club against


and the last was in a victory against West Ham seven seasons later.

There is no question that in the late 50s and early 60s, Jimmy Robson was a terrific part of the great Burnley team. He netted a sum of 79 league goals for the club, but with the cup games were included, the total increases to 100, and that’s why we have included him in our list of

highest goal scorers in Burnley of all time


John Connelly – 215 Matches, 85 Goals

John Connelly is the only player in our list of Burnley top scorers of all time that has won the World Cup in his professional football career. He won the 1966 World Club with


and that is the only time three lions have won it. During his 9 years spell with the club, John Connelly had around 265 league matches and 105 goals in all tiers of the football league.

In the Lancashire Combination, Connelly started his football career with St Helens Town. Scouts of the Burnley FC came to see another player in November 1956 and became so inspired by Connelly that he was given a trial at Burnley, and later made a permanent transfer to the club, who were then competing in the top division of England.

On 11 March 1957, he played his first match with the club away from home versus Leeds United. It did take Connelly two seasons to secure a permanent spot in the first team of Burnley, something that he accomplished in the 1958–59 season, netting 12 goals in 37 games, and finishing the season as the second-highest scorer of the club. With 85 goals in 215 top tier league matches, he is one of the

top scorers in Burnley of all time


Andy Lochhead – 226 Matches, 102 Goals

Andy Lochhead is one of the few

Burnley FC

players to score more than 100 top tier league goals. Born in 1941, he managed to play 226 matches in 8 years for the club and with 102 goals in those matches, he is one of the

Burnley top scorers of all time


It's easy to only think of him as a goalscorer while looking back at his professional career, but Andy was much more than that. He was a tall, strong athlete, fantastic in the air, and thinking back, it's hard to imagine that he never played a single match for his country. Yeah, they had players like Ian St John, Alex Young and Alan Gilzean, but surely Andy deserved more than not to play for his National Team.

At Burnley, his record speaks for itself and he scored three hat tricks, and in two occasions he has managed to score 4 goals in a match, including all four goals in their 4-2 victory over Aston Villa. He has also scored five goals in two matches against Bournemouth and Chelsea. In our list of

Burnley highest goal scorers of all time

, he is in the top three.

Jimmy McIlroy – 439 Matches, 115 Goals

One of the Burnley FC legends with 439 league matches in 13 years between 1950 and 1963, Jimmy McIlroy is also one of the Burnley top scorers of all time with 115 league goals. He is also by far the most loyal Burnley FC player in our list of Burnley highest goal scorers ever.

No player improved his 439 appearances in the post-war league for the club, and he shares this record with John Angus. Just Ray Pointer has scored more than his 115 league goals that would be some gain for a footballer who, even though he took the penalties, would be regarded a midfielder today.

He played 55 matches for

National Team of Northern Ireland

and appeared in Sweden for them in the 1958 World Cup Finals. Of these 55 National Team matches, he won 51 of them while he was a Burnley player, which is a club record.

Jimmy McIlroy was not only about numbers, but just how successful he was as a footballer. He was the legend, indeed. This was said by the fans and by the players. Brian Miller has said about him several years back that he is "The best player I've ever seen in a claret and blue shirt." This says it all about him, one of the Burnley top goal scorers ever.

Ray Pointer – 223 Matches, 118 Goals

Ray Pointer is simply best goal scorer in Burnley history with 118 goals in 223 league matches in English top tier. He started his professional career with Burnley in 1957, playing for them for 7 years before moving to Bury in 1964. Pointer has also won 3 England caps, scoring two goals.

Ray Pointer was a true star of the late 1950s and early 1960s Burnley, a huge favorite of the fans, and he will definitely be so in today's football with his all-action performance where he would not allow opposition defenders rest for a minute.

Burnley was Ray Pointer's first professional football club, but he didn't come straight from the school, and when he signed with the club, he was past his 18th birthday. He was playing football for Dudley Welfare and Cramlington Welfare and was discovered by Charlie Ferguson, a Burnley scout. He previously had trials at Blackpool, however following a trial in 1955, boss Alan Brown was willing to pick him up for Burnley, first recruiting him on amateur contract, before finally recruiting him in 1957 on full professional grounds.

He finally switched to the inside right to adapt playing alongside the young Lochhead in the 1962/63 season and in April of that season he sustained a bone injury in his ankle that effectively ended his Burnley career. He never really recovered complete fitness from that injury and after that, with Willie Irvine and Lochhead playing at their top level, he was forced to play at the reserve team level.

As one of the legends and stars of Burnley team, Ray Pointer will always be remembered by the club supporters as one of the greatest players of all time and also one of the

all-time top goal scorers in Burnley history


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