Will anyone usurp Besart Berisha as the A-League’s top goal scorer?

Chris Matthews-Darby Roar Pro

By Chris Matthews-Darby, Chris Matthews-Darby is a Roar Pro

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28 Have your say

    Besart Berisha is the greatest goal scorer in the A-League era, maybe even Australian football. The first player in the A-League to score 100 goals, the only player to win multiple Golden Boots.

    Archie Thompson and Shane Smeltz have similar figures but spent almost twice as much time in the league as Berisha.

    But the purpose of this article is to calculate when or if someone will usurp Berisha as the A-League’s best goal scorer.

    Firstly, let’s look at the top ten goal scorers in A-League history:

    Besart Berisha 102
    Shane Smeltz 92
    Archie Thompson 90
    Alex Brosque 63
    Mark Bridge 58
    Jamie Maclaren 51
    Sergio van Dijk 50
    Bruce Djite 45
    Matt Simon 44
    Carlos Hernandez 43

    While he is yet to score so far this season, the Kosovo international remains ten goals ahead of the inactive, second-placed Smeltz.

    In fact, only three other players in the top ten are active. Matt Simon, who hasn’t scored in 33 matches, Mark Bridge, who hasn’t scored in 11 matches and just got back from a stint overseas, and Alex Brosque, who is still 39 goals behind.

    Brosque is coming off his best A-League goal-scoring season (11 in 2016-17), but he recently turned 34 and will have to score 20 goals in the next two seasons to reach 100. In the meantime, Berisha will still, presumably, be banging in the goals, increasing his tally.

    Jamie Maclaren looked to be on trajectory, scoring 51 goals in a little over three seasons. However, his move to the Bundesliga’s second division means he is still 51 goals behind Berisha and that margin will have increased if he returns to the A-League.

    Bruno Fornaroli could easily become the second player to score 100 goals in the A-League. He is just behind Carlos Hernandez with 42 goals, all of which he scored in two seasons.

    If he scores 20 goals in every season he plays then it won’t take long to reach 100, but he has a lot of ground to cover and won’t likely return from injury until December.

    At 30 years of age, he could still be around for a few years, but will that be enough to become the competition’s greatest goal scorer? Probably not.

    What about up-and-coming players?

    Adam Taggart is only 24 but already has 33 goals to his name. If he can return to the form that won him the Golden Boot in 2013-14, which eventually led to a move overseas and a spot at the World Cup (he scored 16 goals that season), he could potentially overtake Berisha.

    Other than Taggart and Fornaroli, no other player is scoring enough goals or will spend enough time in the A-League to overtake Berisha.

    Of course, they all still have to compete with the three-time championship winner.

    So let’s look into a dystopian future, where the FFA have expanded the league and – for the sake of argument – it’s the same 20-team format as the Premier League, where there are strikers scoring 20 to 25 goals a season.

    But by the time Berisha retires, he could have as many as 175 goals. Even with the example used, this would take approximately six seasons to match.

    Someday, someone will usurp Berisha as the highest goalscoring player in the A-League – as Sydney FC proved last season, records are made to be broken.

    But Besart Berisha will remain the greatest goal scorer in A-League history for decades to come.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • October 18th 2017 @ 8:38am
      Buddy said | October 18th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      So what’s left to be said? He has played for two clubs that have enjoyed a fair degree of success. Will he be up there this season again if MV struggle or is it that their first two rounds have been agaist two sides most likely to finish above them on the league table? How many really successful strikers perform well in a struggling team….now that may require some more research.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 18th 2017 @ 11:21am
        The Phantom Commissioner said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Not many, Smeltz won a golden boot for a fairly poor Wellington side. Taggart won a golden boot for a pretty average Jets side.

    • October 18th 2017 @ 8:57am
      Fadida said | October 18th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      He won’t make 120

      • Roar Rookie

        October 18th 2017 @ 11:54am
        At work said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Won’t make 120.. What… Are you crazy…

        I’d put him at $1.40 odds to beat 120 goals over the rest of his A League career

        • October 18th 2017 @ 12:52pm
          Fadida said | October 18th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          Watching him in action he’s definitely in decline, missing chances he have once taken every time and a couple of yards of pace down. He’ll need 2 more seasons to get the 18 he needs, assuming he doesn’t take a last big pay in the ME

    • Roar Pro

      October 18th 2017 @ 9:11am
      Josh Barton said | October 18th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      It will be hard for a player to top Berisha. Local players who score lots (ie Maclaren) inevitably end up moving overseas. Foreign imports are usually at the back end of their career and don’t last long enough. You either need a local player to stay in the A-league (unlikely) or a younger foreign import who also wants to stay (there haven’t been many).

      I think it would be a good sign for the A-league when Berisha’s record gets toppled. And if its a local player, it means that they are being paid enough to not warrant a move overseas.

      • October 18th 2017 @ 9:25am
        Square Nostrils said | October 18th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Good points Josh, Berisha is fairly unique to the A-League in that he’s hung around this long, suprised the Chinese never lured him with big dollars.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 18th 2017 @ 11:14am
        The Phantom Commissioner said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        Yes this is why it will be hard to remove him from the top of the all time goal scoring list. Top local strikers don’t stay for 7 years and either do most imports with that quality. I mean if you look at say Maclaren or Taggarts goal to game ratios i’m sure you’d work out they’d be right on Berishas tail after 7 -8 years.

    • October 18th 2017 @ 9:51am
      MatthewSkellett said | October 18th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Bes has lost his mojo alright . He looks unhappy and frustrated .It is curious as to why the Albanian National Coaches passed him over for National Duty . Curiouser and curiouser as to why he hasn’t been poached by the Chinese too as SN said . Anyways good luck with reaching 150 Bes 🙂

      • Roar Rookie

        October 18th 2017 @ 11:17am
        The Phantom Commissioner said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        He does score quite a few from the spot these days as well which tends to bulk up your goal tally.

      • October 18th 2017 @ 11:46am
        Nemesis said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        “Bes has lost his mojo alright ”

        Pretty sure I read this same comment after R2 last season. Berisha was so hopeless he went on to win the Golden Boot.

        Has Berisha lost his mojo over the years?

        Here are the FACTS. Not my opinion but facts. Up to each person to form his/her own opinion based on the FACTS.


        So, the average scoring for Berisha in ALeague competition is 0.65 goals per game.

        Goals per game comparisons
        Jamie MacLaren = 0.56 (4 seasons)
        Bruno Fornaroli = 0.75 (2 seasons: 1st season= 0.86; 2nd season = 0.63)

        • Roar Rookie

          October 18th 2017 @ 11:52am
          At work said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          Pretty bloody good strike rate over 6 seasons.
          I expect he’ll get another 15+ goals this season.

      • October 21st 2017 @ 8:30pm
        Squizz said | October 21st 2017 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

        Besart Berisha is the greatest goal scorer in the A-League era, maybe even Australian football.

        I cannot agree with the last part of this. Damien Mori scored 229 NSL goals for Adelaide City and Glory and added 29 Socceroos goals in 45 matches. He then in his later years (over 35) scored 15 goals in 36 A-League matches for Mariners, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory, He was also Golden Boot on 5 separate occasions

        When Bes has scored 244 goals we can start talking but he certainly is making a strong case.

    • October 18th 2017 @ 10:10am
      Waz said | October 18th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Jamie Maclaren will – probably starting on the task next season !!

      • October 18th 2017 @ 10:36am
        Post_hoc said | October 18th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        You think he will come back? Why?

        • Roar Rookie

          October 18th 2017 @ 11:35am
          At work said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          I don’t think Mclaren is getting game time so agree he’ll be back and would be a decent shot at overtaking Bes.
          As would Taggat, since he’s left Aus and returned I wonder if he’ll play it safe and stay in Aus?? If so he’ll be a good chance of knocking over the record.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 18th 2017 @ 11:52am
            The Phantom Commissioner said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

            If Taggart he keeps banging in the goals i think he’ll leave again, though i hope we can keep him for another year or 2. He has the ability to make it over there i have no doubt, he had a nightmare first time round but that was due mainly to things that where out of his control.

            • October 18th 2017 @ 12:46pm
              punter said | October 18th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

              I think Taggert is a very good striker, hopefully a season injury free will see him back in the Socceroos setup. Really rate him.

              • October 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm
                Fadida said | October 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                I really rate him too, our best finisher

      • October 18th 2017 @ 4:15pm
        j,binnie said | October 18th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        Waz – Can’t help but ask the question,will he come back,if he comes back, to Roar??? Cheers jb.

        • October 18th 2017 @ 7:21pm
          Waz said | October 18th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

          I doubt it jb. Much as he’s respected his style requires a compromise the current coaching staff are unable/unwilling to make. But his goal scoring record whilst at Roar (40 goals in 53 games) would make it a compelling proposition for most fans.

    • October 18th 2017 @ 11:28am
      Square Nostrils said | October 18th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

      Because of his goal scoring prowess Berisha raises a few questions for me regarding the continuity of success at Australian clubs . Its fair to say at the Roar regardless of coach, Berisha popped them in, especially in crucial matches like finals and Grand Finals. He was worth a marquee spot, therefore more money , but was denied by the rules at the time.
      After the 2013-14 Double Berisha went to Victory as a marquee, its history that the double winning coach Mike Mulvey left after a few matches into the 14-15 season and a new makeshift coach Frans Thijssen took over with mixed success.
      It raises the question then, if Berisha could have been fitted in by a more flexible wage system,and stayed at the Roar, would he have left, would Mulvey had had more success and therefore a continuation of the rising crowds from the previous season in the 2014-15 season
      Furthermore if you err on the positive side of this question, what is the more flexible system you would implement for a Berisha type of player, so a club can hold on to him ie an import who becomes valuable to a club and has improved his stature within the league itself.

      • October 18th 2017 @ 12:54pm
        Fadida said | October 18th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        Good points

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