By Mike Collett
Jamie Vardy, who has netted in 10 consecutive Premier League matches for Leicester City, may never have heard of the late Jimmy Dunne and will still trail his top-flight record even if he scores again on Saturday.
Last week Vardy equalled Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record of scoring in 10 successive matches when he found the net against Newcastle United.
British media reported that the England international was one game away from equalling the top-flight mark of 11 set by Stan Mortensen of Blackpool in the old Division One in 1950-51.
Vardy will set a Premier League record if he hits the target against Manchester United on Saturday but will still be one behind the 12-match scoring streak set in Division One by Sheffield United’s Irish forward Dunne in 1931-32.
From October 24 1931, when he netted in a 2-0 win over Grimsby Town, until Jan. 1 1932 when he scored in a 3-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers, Dunne hit 19 goals before the run ended against Portsmouth.
Kevin Cookson, Sheffield United’s senior communications officer, told Reuters on Thursday: “I have Jimmy Dunne’s record in front of me and he didn’t just score one goal at a time, he banged in twos and threes all the time.
“A lot of people use 1992, when the Premier League began, as their cutoff date for records today but there was a lot going on before that and although Dunne’s record was set before the Second World War it is still valid.”
Dunne was born in Dublin in 1905. He was jailed during the Irish Civil War of 1922-23 for having ‘Republican sympathies’ and realised his footballing talent while playing in the prison yard.
He joined Shamrock Rovers on his release before moving to New Brighton, then of the old Third Division North in 1925, before the following year Sheffield United bought him for £800.
Dunne still holds United’s record for most league goals in a season with 41 in 1930-31. No Irishman has ever scored more goals in English league football than his 173.
He stayed at Bramall Lane until September 1933 when Arsenal paid more than £8,000 for him. He later played for Shamrock and Southampton before dying of a heart attack aged 44.
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said on Thursday that Vardy was an outstanding team player for the Premier League leaders.
“For me he’s a champion because he thinks more about the team than himself,” Ranieri told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s home game against second-placed Manchester United.
“I’m very curious about how we respond to these big matches. Saturday is a great challenge for us to improve.”