Andy Cook hits 20 goals for Bradford City – and the stats show he’s on course to be up there with the best

By Jason McKeown

He’s done it. Andy Cook’s 71st minute header at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday means the big number nine has reached 20 goals for the season. The first Bradford City player to achieve this feat since Nahki Wells exactly 10 years ago.

It’s already been some season for Cook. The striker famously began this campaign with his future looking uncertain, as he sat on the bench for the first couple of games, seemingly destined to remain second fiddle to the summer arrival Vadaine Oliver. This after the forward lost his starting place at the end of last season. It all triggered rumours Cook would depart, and had he asked to leave it appears he wouldn’t have needed to push the door too hard to get away.

Cook has risen to the challenge superbly. And given the Bantams have managed only 46 goals in league and cups all season, the 32-year-old’s 20 goals have been absolutely vital. Add in his four assists, and Cook has had a key involvement in 52% of all Bradford City goals this season.

The key question for Cook now is – just how many more can he manage over City’s remaining 15 (at least) remaining games?

Cook’s trajectory

What’s so impressive about Cook’s record this season is just how often he’s scoring relative to minutes played. has Cook down as having played 2,167 minutes so far, which means he’s finding the back of the net once every 108 minutes he plays. That’s almost a goal a game.

Assuming Cook plays every game for the rest of this season, this would roughly suggest that Cook is on track to find the net a further 12 times. There’s certainly no reason to believe that Cook can’t reach 30 goals over the final third of matches to be played.

The last City player to hit over 30 goals in a season was a certain Bobby Campbell in 1982/83. The legendary Bantams striker scored 33 goals in total that year, as City finished mid-table in the Third Division (now League One). 30+ goals from one player in a City season are incredibly rare, with the last player before Campbell to reach such a landmark was Rodney Green in 1964.

Most goals in a season by a Bradford City striker

1.David Layne1961/6236
2.Derek Stokes1959/6035
3.John McCole1958/5934
4.Bobby Campbell1982/8333
5.Rodney Green1963/6431
6.Bobby Campbell1981/8229
=Jack Deakin1938/3929
8.Dean Windass2004/0528
9.Jack Deakin1937/3827
10.Bobby Campbell1984/8526
11.Sean McCarthy1992/9325
=Lee Mills1998/9925
=Nahki Wells2012/1325
14.Albert Whitehurst1928/2924
=Joe Spence1933/3424
=Joe Cooke1975/7624

That is some very special company that Cook is just four goals away from joining. It’s unlikely he’s going to break David Layne’s incredible record of 36 goals in a season, but he could get into that top five before the season ends. Especially if City reach the play offs and potentially have three more games where he can seek to find the back of the net.

All time City scorers

Cook’s goal at Doncaster on Saturday was his 40th in total for the Bantams since he signed just over two years ago. He’s done that in 98 appearances overall (including sub appearances), which is some going. But he has a way to go to get into the top 10 all-time City scorers.

All time Bradford City goalscorers

  GoalsAppearancesAverage goals per game
1Bobby Campbell1212740.44
2Frank O’Rourke881920.46
3Dean Windass762160.35
=James Hanson762740.28
5John Hallows741640.45
6Joe Cooke682710.25
7Gerry Ingram641740.37
=Bobby Ham641880.34
=David McNiven642120.30
10Sean McCarthy631310.48
=John Hall634300.15

Cook is averaging 0.41 goals per game, which ranks him more prolific than 7 of the 11 players in the all-time top City scorer list. And if Cook can get towards 50 goals by the end of this season, and earn a new contract, he might just make crash into the top 10 before he hangs up his boots.  

A modern day City cult hero

You don’t have to watch Bradford City for too many years to appreciate that clinical goalscorers are a rarity in these parts. Many a big name striker have staked their reputation on coming to Valley Parade to be a success, many have failed.

Over the last 25 years you can probably only count Lee Mills, Dean Windass, Peter Thorne, Nahki Wells and Charlie Wyke as prolific goalscorers in a City shirt. Cook, you would have to say, lacks the technical ability of these much celebrated forwards. But in the relative world of comparing Bradford City striker goalscoring records, Cook’s up there with some of the best.

What makes Cook unique to other City striker heroes of the past is how much he’s had to do it on his own. Over most of the past two years, he’s played a sole striker and at times had limited service. Yet he is almost always sharp and alive to chances that comes his way. He plays with a big personality. The number nine shirt can weigh heavily at Valley Parade, but Cook embraces and thrives on the pressure and expectation that comes with it.

Whatever division Bradford City find themselves in next season, they will surely want to continue to have the services of Cook.

It’s time to open those contract talks.  

Categories: Opinion


13 replies

  1. Andy Cook is an amazing player, a natural goalscorer and a throwback to an earlier style of big bustling centre forwards, who put it about and were dangerous in the air, like Rodney Green, Bobby Campbell and, more recently, James Hanson. Derek Stokes, Bronco Layne and Johnny McCole relied more on speed and the possession of a powerful shot. These are all legendary names and Cook has it in him to join them if he continues to score at the same rate and we gain promotion. Indeed, it is not inconceivable that he could excel their records. He has a rare knack of stealing in to score with his head as we saw him do for Mansfield when coming on for them as a late substitute. He scored an identical goal against Doncaster at the weekend. He’s a big man with surprisingly delicate inward-turning feet, both of which pack a powerful shot. His portfolio of career goals contains many fine volleys. His prodigious goal tally has come about because of a sheer talent and intense determination to score. It is no coincidence he’s banged them in for all his clubs. Yes, as Hughes once remarked, he can at times look a little awkward – but he’s immensely effective. There is so much to like about him, not least his joy in scoring and his refreshing awkwardness in front of the camera when being interviewed. He’s not the modern media-savvy spouter of cliches. He always looks as though he just wants to do it on the field not talk about it. I love him. If I was still of an age to hero worship – my last was Ken Leek – Big Andy would be mine. A modern day cult hero, indeed, as Jason says. Who could ever forget his length of the field dash with a goal at the end of it – or the half volley from 40 yards that hit the post.

  2. Andy Cook is definitely a feel good story this season. I can’t help but think how many more goals he could have scored this season with improved service from the wings. Saturday’s goal is a great example of how dangerous he is in the air.

  3. Andy Cook has been very impressive this season. Despite his lack of service and support at times he has managed 20 goals with a minimum of 15 games to play. Cook has also been left on the bench on numerous occasions and the minutes per goals is almost 1 goal a game. 4 assists also shows there is much more to his game than goal scoring.

    Any sort sort of supporting cameos from another forward or attacking midfielder in relation to goals scored would have pushed city into that top 3.

    Put any sort of decent ball into the box and cook will invariably be on the end of it with the ball nestling in the back of the net soon after.

    It would be great to see more quality balls into the box from corners and crosses and city having a right go with Nevers and Banks from wide positions giving Cook more service and support.

    Cook thrives on the the bigger stage at city and I for one would like to see him signed up for a further 2 years before the season ends. He definitely earned it.

  4. I knew Mark Hughes would make Andy Cook a better player this season, not only in front of goal but out of position, what strength and hold up play, great to watch and Hughes has protected Him as well, taking the pressure off Him whilst in a bit of a dry spell, top class man management and they still is no pressure on him as the squad we have is stronger, looking forward to every game left as I did back Him at 33/1 for Top Scorer, come on Cookie ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️

  5. Agree with Ant but think it’s a bit OTT to refer to Andy Cook as Him with a capital H

  6. Twenty goals is a stunning return bearing in mind he has been feeding of scraps in many games Even Sir Bobby had Mega and JH to feed him. So hats of to Cookey.

  7. It’s even more remarkable considering our meagre xG totals this season. We’ve relied on his clinical finishing and huge credit to Cook for his work this season.

    We can’t have any fans begging for a 20 goal a season striker this summer for once. We have one. Get that contract tied up City!

  8. Very impressive record from Cookie, I too hope he is offered a new contract and he agrees to stay. Goal scorers are like rocking horse poop.
    Looking at the list of all-time leading scorers the record of Sean McCarthy is particularly impressive. I wasn’t his biggest fan at the time, however I am more than happy to apologize to him.
    Over my time following City we have had some great centre forwards. I started in 1977. Bobby the pick of the bunch. He did have some very good creators. Hutchins, Ellis, Chapman, Gallagher, Hendrie and McNiven to name a few. Good teams, good times, I miss them so much.

  9. I know he wasn’t around for that long but what was Charlie wykes goals per game? Must have compared well to the top lot. above.
    Successful strikers certainly are a rarity at city and yet I do feel as a fan base we struggle to warm to our big centre forwards. Maybe I’m wrong but we seem to warm to other types of players more than strikers.
    Since I’ve been watching city one of my all time favourites is Sean McCarthy. From my hazy and distant memory he always seemed so reliable. In teams that let’s be fair weren’t the best!
    Big respect to cook. His numbers say it all. But actually no they don’t. There’s so much more to the numbers. The getting fit. The being a lone striker. The mental strength to fight for and retain his place multiple times. Really impressive. Surely a good role model for younger players at this or any club.
    Fingers crossed he can keep his trajectory going for many months to come (beyond 22/23 and into 23/24)

  10. A great effort indeed by Cookie. I remember the top guy Bronco Layne coming from I think Swindon. Wow what a finisher who went on to score just the same in what is now our Premier League.

  11. I can sed him scoring a few goals still if we get promoted. A contract extension sounds like a no brainer

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