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FEATURE: The post-war Wolves club record Leo Bonatini is closing on

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

Leo Bonatini will equal a post-war record if he continues his scoring streak by netting in Wolves' next match.

Goal machine Leo Bonatini and, clockwise from top left; Micky Holmes, Tom Phillipson, Peter Knowles and Jimmy Murray

The Brazilian continued his prolific goalscoring run when he netted in the 2-0 win over Fulham on Friday night, writes Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers.

Bonatini had become the first Wolves player to score in five consecutive league matches since Henri Camara in 2004 when scoring at Norwich three days earlier.

He has now found the net in six consecutive league games – and only four Wolves players have ever scored in seven or more in a row, dating back to 1888.

Tim Spiers on Leo Bonatini's great goal scoring run

Bonatini is now level with a host of players who have scored in six in a row, including Billy Hartill, Dennis Wescott, Johnny Hancocks and Ted Farmer.

The mercurial Peter Knowles also achieved that feat near the start of the 1965/66 Division Two season, a run which included a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Derby.

Bonatini will have to more than double his current run if he's to break Wolves' club record, though, which stands at a remarkable 13 matches.

Here are the four players that the Brazilian is now looking to catch...

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Tom Phillipson (13 games and 10 games)

Tom Phillipson's record may never be beaten

When you think of Wolves legends the names that trip instantly off the tongue tend to be Wright, Cullis, Bull, Broadbent, Richards...but maybe not Phillipson.

Perhaps that should change. After all, when it comes to scoring streaks the striker is both first and second in Wolves' all-time list having embarked on runs of 10 and 13 matches in successive seasons.

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The term 'purple patch' could have been invented for this guy. Born in Newcastle, Phillipson's scoring exploits began as a youngster when he netted 14 goals in a single match for his school team – and 10 in the next match.

He moved from Swindon to Wolves in 1923 for the princely sum of £1,000 and netted 12 and 16 goals respectively in his first two seasons.

Then in Phillipson found his scoring boots, netting a then club record 37 goals in 33 matches. In the final 23 league games of that campaign, Phillipson scored in 19 of them, including two hat-tricks and four against Barnsley, plus a 10-game scoring streak to boot, another Wolves record.

In the 1926/27 Division Two season he would score 33 goals in total including an astonishing run of 22 goals in 13 consecutive games. It began with a hat-trick in a 9-1 demolition of Barnsley and continued all the way to a 2-2 draw at Notts County on February 9.

In the run there was also a hat-trick against Clapton Orient and an amazing five in Christmas Day 7-2 hammering of Bradford City.

Injury ruled him out of Wolves' next game, a defeat at Middlesbrough, and then Phillipson returned to the side a week later but shocked the football world by failing to score against Southampton.

The following season Phillipson would only score 11 times and new boss Major Frank Buckley clearly wasn't impressed – he sold the Wolves skipper to Sheffield United for £2,600.

Phillipson would later return to Wolverhampton where he became the town's mayor in 1944. In total he scored 111 in 159 matches for Wolves – and his club record will surely never be beaten.

Phillipson's 13-game run may also be the English football record although some believe that Leicester’s Arthur Chandler scored in 16 consecutive games in the 1920s.

Jack Brodie (9 games)

Jack Brodie jointly founded Wolves and was a prolific goalscorer

Brodie's Wolves achievements are numerous.

He founded Wolves in 1877 along with John Baynton, captained the club to its first ever trophy (the 1884 Wrekin Cup) and was the first Wolves player to captain England.

He also played in Wolves' first league and FA Cup games and scored their first ever FA Cup goal.

Brodie, whose real name was John, was a prolific goalscorer both before and after the formation of the Football League in 1888 and it was during the first ever Football League season that he recorded his nine-game scoring streak, which would be a club record for 38 years.

The run began when he netted in a 2-2 draw at Blackburn on October 20, with his ninth and final goal coming in a 4-1 home win over Stoke (watched by just 3,000) in December.

Wolves only played 22 games in that inaugural campaign and Brodie scored in 11 of them, but still wasn't the club's top scorer that season with Harry Wood pipping him on 13 goals.

In total Brodie scored 44 goals in 65 appearances for Wolves and later became a club director.

Jimmy Murray (7 games)

Jimmy Murray's goals helped Wolves win two league titles

Stan Cullis certainly had an eye for a talented player and when he prophesied that a youngster by the name of Jimmy Murray would become a top class goalscorer he was absolutely right.

Murray was thrown in at the deep end when he made his Wolves debut. The 20-year-old was doing his national service at Lichfield when, 24 hours before a home friendly with Moscow Dynamo in 1955 he picked up a newspaper and saw the headline "Unknown to lead Wolves". Murray couldn't believe it was him, but sure enough he soon received a phone call from Cullis and would play in the 2-1 win in front of 55,000 the next day.

From there the forward never looked back and was Wolves' leading scorer in their First Division title triumphs of 1957/58 and 1958/59.

It was in that second title winning season that he registered his scoring streak, which came in the final seven games of the campaign as Wolves beat Sir Matt Busby's Manchester United to the crown by six points.

In total Murray scored 166 goals in 299 Wolves appearances.

Micky Holmes (7 games)

Micky Holmes poses with a ball for every one of his seven consecutive goals

Some seriously prolific players don't make this list. Steve Bull's best run was five consecutive games, even during his logic-defying run of scoring 104 goals in two seasons.

The likes of John Richards, Derek Dougan, Peter Broadbent, Roy Swinbourne or, in recent years, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Benik Afobe, never reached more than five games in a row.

Kenny Miller did score in seven consecutive games during Wolves' promotion season of 2002/03, but two of those matches were in the FA Cup and as Bonatini didn't net in the recent Carabao Cup exit at Manchester City (he did score in the penalty shoot-out, mind) this article is concentrating on league runs only.

Midfielder Micky Holmes can hardly be considered prolific. In 104 Wolves appearances he netted 13 goals – but seven of those came during an uncharacteristic hot streak in 1987.

Graham Turner had not long taken over as Wolves boss and a revolution led by him, Bull, Andy Mutch, Andy Thompson et al was brewing at Molineux.

For now though the best they could hope for was a Division Four play-off place (Wolves lost to Aldershot) and Holmes' exploits helped them get there. He began his run in a 3-2 defeat at Crew on January 31 and continued all the way to a 2-0 victory over Colchester on March 3, equalling a post-war club record in the process.

All-time Wolves goalscoring streaks (league matches)

13 games

Tom Phillipson (1926/27, 22 goals)

10 games

Tom Phillipson (1925/26, 14 goals)

9 games

Jack Brodie (1888/89, 9 goals)

7 games

Jimmy Murray (1958/59, 7 goals)

Micky Holmes (1986/87, 7 goals)

6 games

Sammy Brooks (1914/15, 8 goals)

Reg Weaver (1927/28,10 goals)

Billy Hartill (1932/33, 7 goals)

Dicky Dorsett (1938/39, 10 goals)

Dennis Westcott (1946/47, 6 goals)

Johnny Hancocks (1954/55, 7 goals)

Norman Deeley (1957/58, 7 goals)

Ted Farmer (1960/61, 10 goals)

Peter Knowles (1965/66, 8 goals)

Leo Bonatini (2017/18, 7 goals)

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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