• Wayne Rooney is Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer ahead of Bobby Charlton

  • The record changed hands several times prior to Charlton’s career

  • Read below for the leading scorers in Manchester United’s history

Looking through the history of Manchester United top scorers is a who’s who of the sport’s greatest players.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona and Ruud van Nistelrooy feature on a season-by-season basis, but our focus here is on the club’s all time leading scorers.

Paul Scholes – 155 goals

The latter years of Paul Scholes’ career were spent in a deeper midfield role, but the former Oldham manager was renowned for his goal scoring earlier in his career.

Never afraid to shoot from distance and with a knack for arriving in the area at the right time, Scholes had a run of four consecutive seasons in double figures around the turn of the century.

His most productive season was 20 goals in 2002-03 followed by 14 in the next campaign. Goals were loss common from 2005 onwards, though Scholes continued to add to his tally, earning the 10th spot on this list.

The club is still searching for its next Scholes to build a midfield around as they look to become a Premier League winner betting favourite once again.

Mark Hughes – 163 goals

Mark Hughes had two spells at Old Trafford, separated by brief stints with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Amassing over 450 appearances for the club, the Welshman wasn’t particularly prolific by modern standards, yet he was an important player for the Red Devils as they won two league titles and three FA Cups.

The club’s top scorer on six occasions, Hughes might not have been blessed with the same ability as Eric Cantona or Robin van Persie, but he was still a vital piece of some successful United sides.

Joe Spence – 168 goals

Playing his final match for Manchester United in 1933, Joe Spence was a feature during a difficult period in the club’s history between the wars. Spence was miles clear of the previous record holder with his tally of 168.

Jack Rowley eventually knocked Spence off top spot. By 1960, he was third on the club’s all-time scoring charts. All of the players above him have a better goals-per-game ratio aside from Bobby Charlton, who also sits at 0.33.

Ryan Giggs – 168 goals

With 963 appearances, Ryan Giggs is over 200 ahead of anyone else. It is perhaps unsurprising that he makes the top 10 given the sheer number of matches he played in.

Across the most decorated career in the history of English football, Giggs had just five seasons where he broke the 10-goal mark. His career-high was 17 in 1993-94 and he never got above eight over the last decade of his playing career.

George Best – 179 goals

A man who needs no explanation. Many would still name George Best as Manchester United’s greatest ever player almost half a century after he played his final game for the club.

Best was a wizard on the field, mesmeric in his dribbling and capable of things others can only concoct in their head. Off the field, he was an icon of a generation, a symbol of an evolving British culture.

The 179 goals in 480 Manchester United appearances tells just a small portion of the George Best story.

Dennis Viollet – 179 goals

Top scoring for the club three times in the 1950s, Dennis Viollet has the best goals-per-game ratio of anyone on this list.

A survivor of the Munich air disaster and one of the Busby Babes, Viollet played for the Red Devils between 1953 and 1962, when he was surprisingly sold to Stoke City for a fee of £250,000.

He departed having won two league titles with United and had put together six seasons of 20 or more goals.

Jack Rowley – 211 goals

Surpassing Joe Spence by a comfortable margin, Jack Rowley still didn’t hold the record for that long thanks to Denis Law’s emergence in the following years.

Nicknamed ‘The Gunner’, Rowley’s CV isn’t as littered with silverware as others here, but he was always a factor when making a football prediction.

He scored 109 goals across four seasons between 1946 and 1950 and found the net six times in his six England caps. Rowley top scored for United in five seasons before departing for Plymouth Argyle in 1954.

Denis Law – 237 goals

The only Scot to win the Ballon d’Or, Denis Law was one of the best players on the planet throughout the 1960s.

Scoring 163 goals across his first five campaigns with Manchester United, Law won two league titles, a European Cup and FA Cup with the Red Devils before returning to Manchester City in 1973.

Of the 10 top scorers in United history, only Viollet got his goals at a better rate than Law, who finished with an average of 0.59 per contest.

Bobby Charlton – 249 goals

The leader in Manchester United appearances until Ryan Giggs knocked him off top spot, Bobby Charlton played for the club between 1956 and 1973, taking him to a tally north of 750.

He won a Ballon d’Or in light of England’s World Cup win and collected club honours aplenty, including three league titles.

Charlton, like many of the greats, was so much more than a pure goal scorer. Capable of being playmaker, midfield general or a finisher, he had two further runners up placings in Ballon d’Or voting.

Wayne Rooney – 253 goals

Undeniably one of the best Premier League strikers of all-time, Wayne Rooney overtook Bobby Charlton on 21st January 2017 with a goal in a 1-1 draw with Stoke.

Unfairly maligned throughout his career and ultimately underrated at points, Rooney was integral through periods of dominance in Premier League predictions.

From the hat-trick against Fenerbahce to an overhead in the Manchester derby and accepting different roles for the benefit of the team, Rooney had the peak brilliance and longevity to match.

The record books reflect well on his career with club and country.


Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.