Rooney will break Charlton’s record and here’s when…



It is surely no longer a matter of if but when Wayne Rooney breaks Sir Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United goalscoring record, with the 25-year-old striker beginning this season in impressive form. Rooney is now less than 100 goals from the 249-goal target set by  Charlton, which has stood since the United legend retired in 1973. Rooney now has 153 goals in all competitions, with only Denis Law and Jack Rowley having also scored more than 200 goals in all competitions for the Old Trafford club.

Indeed, such is Rooney’s form that a repeat of the striker’s 34-goal 2009/10 season will lift the Scouser above George Best and Dennis Viollet to fourth on United’s all-time scoring charts. Rooney has passed Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy in the list this campaign, having scored nine goals in eight competitive games for the club.

But when Rooney eventually passes Charlton’s record depends on a number of mitigating factors including form, fitness and whether the player’s talent begins to deteriorate, with the former-Evertonian far from the Ryan Giggs-esque model professional off-the-field.

“I do [think Rooney can beat the record],” Ferguson told club rag<em>Inside United</em>.

“He is only 25 years of age, so you’d think he has at least another five years in him at the very top level. And if he looks after himself like Ryan Giggs has done, he could play well into his 30s. The opportunity is there and time is on his side. He’s raced out of the blocks already this season and I hope he could get up to around the 30 mark.”

In this spirit Rant has tracked Rooney’s past performances for United, taking into account the average number of games, goals and goalscoring ratio for the club over seven seasons. Predicting the future is, of course, a ‘mug’s game’ but one Rant takes on in any case. Envisioning three potential scenarios, Rant estimates that the striker will become United’s greatest ever goalscorer before the end of the 2014/15 season – but only if Rooney’s current renaissance continues.

At the other end of the performance spectrum, if Rooney’s goalscoring tails off with age, injury or another bout marital/tabloid strife –  or another offer from Manchester City cynics might add – it could take the player until past the 2015-16 campaign to reach Charlton’s record, if at all.

But first let’s take a look at Rooney’s performances for United to date, which although lumpy in terms of absolute numbers in any given season, demonstrate a remarkable goals-to-games consistency during seven full seasons at the club.

Chart 1, below, shows that on average Rooney records a goals-to-games ratio of around 0.46. Or in other words: very close to a goal every other game for United. This record includes both the player’s remarkable 2009/10 campaign, and the injury/scandal affected season last time out.

Rooney Historical Goalscoring

Chart 1 - click for a larger image. Source: United Rant

Recalling the three hypothetical scenarios for Rooney’s future goalscoring, Rant adjusts predicted future performance based on the striker’s past. Will the former Evertonian continue the current renaissance, perform in-line with historical precedent or deteriorate over the following seasons? Rant’s predictions are, of course, little more than fun, if educated guesswork.

In the renaissance scenario – see chart below – the former Evertonian increases his historical goalscoring record over the next six years, and remains fit and scandal free for the foreseeable future. Here, Rant has assumed that Rooney’s excellent start to the current season continues, predicting a 0.77 goals-to-games goalscoring ratio by the end of the campaign, much as the player achieved in 2009-10. In this Rant has guesstimated the number of games played over the season at 46, including substitute appearances, which is Rooney’s historical average for the club.

In following seasons Rant assumes that Rooney – on average – will not continue to score at a 0.77 ratio, but that he will improve his average to around 0.55. This is little more than a guess but realistic stretch-goal based on historical numbers.

Rooney Goalscoring Potential

Chart 2 - click for a larger image. Source: United Rant

In the static scenario – chart above – Rant extrapolates Rooney’s historical 0.46 goals-to-games ratio and average games played per season across the next six seasons. This results in a perfectly linear growth in cumulative goals, which is, of course, unrealistic as Rooney’s performance over each the next six years will never be a mirror of the previous. The point is clear nonetheless.

Finally, in the deterioration scenario – also in chart above – Rooney performs solidly this season before returning to historical averages in the immediate following campaigns. Worse still, as age, deteriorating fitness and poor career management catch up – see drinking, smoking, sleeping with hookers – Rooney’s total number of games per season and goals-to-games ratio fall below the current average. Even in this scenario Rooney will break Charlton’s goalscoring record if he remains at Old Trafford past his 31st birthday.

The scenarios painted are, of course, little more than fun. The more serious point is that unless fitness, scandal or contract rebellion get in the way, Rooney is almost certain to become United’s highest ever goalscorer before his current deal runs its full course. This is some accolade for a scruffy kid from Croxteth, who became Britain’s most expensive teenager, an Old Trafford hero, a contract rebel and a tabloid scandal-magnet.

Share Button
  • Alfonso Bedoya

    I’m not sure he’ll make it.

    I’ve no doubt at all that he COULD do it… 100 goals in 5 seasons, is fuck all for a player of his calibre, as long as he stays fit and focussed… but that’s a big “if”, I think.

    Rooney may have settled down off field, a lot in the past year… but I still have the feeling he’s got a few wild weekends in him yet… and he’s dumb enough to completely fuck everything up, given the opportunity.

  • Gabagool

    That’s ten minutes I’ll never get back…

  • sidney

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    I’m not sure he’ll make it.
    I’ve no doubt at all that he COULD do it… 100 goals in 5 seasons, is fuck all for a player of his calibre, as long as he stays fit and focussed… but that’s a big “if”, I think.
    Rooney may have settled down off field, a lot in the past year… but I still have the feeling he’s got a few wild weekends in him yet… and he’s dumb enough to completely fuck everything up, given the opportunity.

    And after his PR stunt last season nothing is certain with him now IMO
    There’s still a chance he might fuck off for bigger wages

  • Mongoletsi

    // Ryan Giggs-esque model professional off-the-field //

    Did you *really* just write that!?

    • jenre

      shagging your sister-in-law doesn’t make you a bad professional, just a bad person

      • Mongoletsi

        I was objecting to claiming Giggsy is professional OFF THE FIELD :o)

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/forum/profile/admin Ed

      Yeah he trains hard, doesnt drink, eats well, and gets in some extra marital bedroom exercise

  • captainhormone

    if i was a gambling man i’d like to think he could….if i was rooneys dad…i’d put a bet on that

  • http://www.newhallmedialtd.com Calvino

    He won’t!! I cant believe that this question is being posed less than a year after the fellow cast aspersions on this club and handed in a transfer request!!! Honestly Ed, Stretford would not have done a better job really.

    I do not trust the man ONE bit anymore. On ability or goalscoring even he can’t. He is not an out and out goalscorer and as he gets older he will get slower.

  • dozer

    sidney said:
    And after his PR stunt last season nothing is certain with him now IMO

    There’s still a chance he might fuck off for bigger wages

    He will leave for bigger wages, he’ll move when probably Real come calling.
    His youth coach in Everton has predicted that too.

    United need a plan B, it’s time to start brooding 17-18 year old inconsitent wonderkids already.

  • shauno

    Just need to get this off my chest…fuck off England, England fans, Jamie Redknapp and the FA. Bunch of arse bandits. Rooney getting sent off allows these desperate twats to mask over the fact that England are simply shit. But that will be all Rooney’s fault until the next game. It wont be mentioned that even before Rooney was sent off you could throw a blanket over the two centre backs and the whole of the midfield. Players were not tracking the ball and the two centre backs, in particular Terry stood off the man and dropped deeper and deeper off the ball inviting it. Or that Joe Hart should have dealt with the cross leading to the second goal (De Gae would have been at fault for that!). If they can’t beat a a country with a population of 600,000 and defend a 2-0 lead against a shit side even with ten men then that means as a team they are shit. Couldn’t manage 2 banks of four behind the ball for the last 15mins shocking. Sorry I know its not an England forum and I’m not an England fan I just hate the whole England set up and the FA. Rant over…sorry.

  • Yang

    Oh dear, Rooney is always do stupid thingy and he will never learn. I only appreciate Ferguson’s man management skill even Thick skull like Tevez acted more reasonable when he was at United.

    Hope he stay at team for his own sake. I highly doubt that Rooney can cope well somewhere else

  • sidney

    Well done

    You’ve seen the light and walked into it

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    that’s a load of bollocks tbf

    ycsyfmufcuya

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    OK… I’ll bite… what’s “ycsyfmufcuya”?

  • Brown

    Wayne Rooney breaking Mr. Charltons record will be largely dependent on his relationship with the next Utd Boss when Fergie retires.

  • Brown

    Wayne Rooney breaking Mr. Charltons record will depend on his relationship with the next Utd Boss when Fergie retires.

  • shauno

    It will depend mostly on how many goals he scores whilst at united

  • ltel

    Commenter said:
    It will depend mostly on how many goals he scores whilst at united

    lolol.. mostly