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Striking Legends: Ranking the Best Manchester City Strikers in History

Updated: Feb 29

Striking Legends: Ranking the Best Manchester City Strikers in History
Striking Legends: Ranking the Best Manchester City Strikers in History

Crafting a Unified Narrative: Celebrating the Legacy of Man City's Top Strikers

As the heartbeat of any football club, strikers hold a unique place in the annals of its history, making an enduring impression with each goal scored and every unforgettable moment created. In the storied saga of Manchester City, a club that has witnessed triumphs and transformations, the list of striking legends is as diverse as it is illustrious.

From the goal-scoring exploits of Sergio Agüero to the iconic moments etched in the 1930s by Eric Brook and Tommy Johnson, and the impact of Sergio Aguero, this is a celebration of prowess, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of greatness.

Each striker brings a unique chapter to the rich fabric of Manchester City's history, contributing to the club's narrative in their distinct way. As we unveil the rankings, relive the defining goals, the triumphant seasons, and the enduring legacies that have shaped the Cityzens into the powerhouse it is today. Buckle up for a trip down memory lane as we celebrate the Striking Legends who have left an everlasting imprint at Maine Road and the Etihad, forever immortalised in the hearts of the passionate City faithful.

1. Sergio Agüero (260 Goals)

Undoubtedly one of the greatest strikers in City's history, Agüero's legacy is defined by his incredible goal-scoring feats. Joining in 2011, the Argentine striker became the club's all-time leading scorer with 260 goals in 390 appearances before departing in 2021. Agüero's crowning moment came on May 13, 2012, in the final minutes of the season against QPR. His last-gasp goal secured City's first Premier League title in 44 years, etching his name in football folklore. Beyond the statistics, Agüero's flair and clutch performances made him a fan favourite.

2. Eric Brook (177 Goals)

Moving back in time, Eric Brook stands as a true City legend from the 1920s and 1930s. His goal-scoring prowess was remarkable, with 177 goals in 493 appearances during his 13-year spell. Holding the club's all-time scoring record for decades until Agüero's arrival, Brook's brilliance in the 1934 FA Cup final, where he scored twice, remains etched in City's history, symbolising an era of dominance.

3. Tommy Johnson (166 Goals)

Continuing our journey through City's rich history, Tommy Johnson emerges as a prominent figure from 1919 to 1930. His pivotal role in City's success is underlined by scoring 166 goals in 355 appearances. Beyond the numbers, Johnson's dedication to the team's success, notably showcased in the 1936 FA Cup final, cements his status as a key figure in the club's history. As confirmed by the club, to honour Tommy Johnson's legacy, a street near Maine Road was dedicated to him – Tommy Johnson Walk in Moss Side, Manchester.

4. Colin Bell (153 Goals)

Shifting gears to the late 1960s and early 1970s, we encounter Colin Bell. Primarily a midfielder, Bell's ability to contribute goals was crucial. His impact extended beyond scoring, with 153 goals in 501 appearances. Bell's versatility and leadership qualities made him a linchpin in the squad, exemplified in the 1969 FA Cup final.

5. Joe Hayes (148 Goals)

Joe Hayes, a prolific striker for Manchester City from 1953 to 1965, showcased remarkable talent despite facing setbacks. His 152 goals in 364 appearances positioned him as a potential all-time top goal-scorer for the club had it not been for a serious knee injury prematurely ending his stay. Hayes's knack for poaching goals was evident, with one notable strike coming in the 1956 FA Cup final victory over Birmingham City. Despite his modest stature at 5 feet 8 inches and poor eyesight, Hayes maximised his abilities, exemplifying determination and resilience. Despite limited international recognition, with only two England Under-23 caps, Hayes's impact on City's history remains significant.

6. Billy Meredith (151 Goals)

Billy Meredith, a revered Welsh footballer renowned for his exceptional skills as a winger, played for both Manchester City and Manchester United. Across two stints from 1894 to 1905 and 1921 to 1924, he secured 151 goals in 394 appearances for City, contributing to their successes, including winning the Football League title in 1904 and 1912, and the FA Cup in 1904. Despite his involvement in the "Financial Scandal" of 1905, Meredith was reinstated after an appeal. Renowned for his skills as a right winger, he left his mark on City's history, returning to the club in 1921, showcasing his loyalty. Notably, Meredith's final game for City occurred just 120 days short of his 50th birthday, making him the oldest player to represent the club.

7. Francis [Franny] Lee (148 Goals)

Entering the late 1960s and early 1970s, Franny Lee's time at City was marked by prolific goal-scoring. With 148 goals in 330 appearances, he played a crucial role in the club's domestic success, including the First Division title in 1967-68. Lee's instrumental role in the 1969 FA Cup final secures his place among the legends, showcasing resilience and determination.

8. Tommy Browell

Tommy Browell, one of City’s greatest strikers, remains proudly in the all-time top 10 despite leaving the Blues 90 years ago. Browell's prolific scoring ability was evident from his debut season in 1913-14, where he netted 13 goals from 27 starts. Partnering with Horace Barnes, Browell's impact soared, contributing to City's successes, including a remarkable 31-goal haul in the 1920-21 season.

9. Fred Tilson (132 Goals)

Stepping back to the 1930s, (Samuel Frederick Tilson) Fred Tilson’s contributions to Manchester City cannot be overlooked. Alongside Tommy Johnson, Tilson formed a devastating strike partnership, leading City to their first-ever league title in the 1936-37 season. With 132 goals in 273 appearances, Tilson left an indelible mark on Manchester City’s journey. He was active from 1928 to 1938 at Man City.

10. Billy Gillespie

Billy Gillespie, a key player for City from 1897 to 1905, enjoyed a successful tenure, winning two Division Two Championships and the FA Cup. His partnership with the legendary Billy Meredith, highlighted by both scoring hat-tricks in City's 7-2 win over Grimsby Town in 1898, remains memorable. Gillespie's popularity with supporters was well-deserved, with his best season seeing him score 30 goals in 33 games in 1902-03, cementing his place in City's history for over a century.

Table: Man City Top Strikers of All-Time


Player Name

Years at Man City

Total Appearances

Total Goals


Sergio Agüero





Eric Brook





Tommy Johnson





Colin Bell





Joe Hayes





Billy Meredith

1894-1905 & 1921-1924




Francis Lee





Tommy Browell





Fred Tilson





Billy Gillespie





These legendary strikers, each unique in style and era, have not only left an indelible mark on the scoresheet but have also crafted moments that became part of Manchester City's storied history. From title-clinching goals to FA Cup triumphs, their contributions extend beyond statistics, leaving an enduring legacy that continues.

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