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Sep 12, 2013

Brothers in arms

If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to ESPN's team of football anoraks at askespnfc@outlook.com and they will try to answer as many as possible.

After both Shola and Sammy Ameobi scored in the Capital One Cup tie for Newcastle against Morecambe, it had me wondering: which pair of brothers have scored the most goals for the same club? I wouldn't imagine there would even be too many players that fit the criteria, Barbarossa from San Antonio, Texas asked.

It is a great question and Barbarossa has hit on the problem: very few brothers have been prolific for the same club. Perhaps the best pair of goalscoring brothers in the recent past are the Inzaghis, but both Pippo and Simone scored a mere 15 league goals each for Piacenza before moving on to different clubs.

Going back further in history, the Rodriguez brothers scored 192 league goals between them for Barcelona. However, as Cesar, formerly their record scorer, was responsible for all 192 -- his older brother Calo, a defender, never found the net in the league -- it is probably wrong to include them. Likewise, the Bloomer brothers, Steve and Philip, managed 259 league goals for Derby. As left-back Philip only made one senior appearance and did not score, it is again probably better to look past them.

So looking for brothers who both scored for the same club and dealing only in league goals, some of the contenders are as follows:

The Allens, Clive (32) and Bradley (27): 59 for QPR
The Koemans, Ronald (51) and Erwin (21): 72 for PSV Eindhoven
The Grays, Eddie (52) and Frank (27): 79 for Leeds
The De Boers, Ronald (50) and Frank (30): 80 for Ajax
The Stephensons, Clem (85) and George (22): 107 for Aston Villa
The Wallaces, Danny (64) and Rod (45): 109 for Southampton
The Bakers, Joe (114) and Gerry (27): 141 for Hibernian
The Steins, Brian (130) and Mark (22): 152 for Luton

In English football the highest combined total I can find is 169, scored by the Deveys for Aston Villa. Jack, who lived from 1866 to 1940, scored 168 of them in between playing cricket for Warwickshire and his older brother Harry got the other one.

In the major European leagues, I have found three pairs of brothers who scored more goals for the same club. Indeed, in two cases, that club was Bayern Munich. Uli Hoeness scored 86 times in the Bundesliga and Dieter 102, giving them 188 goals between them. However, they were then overhauled by the Rummenigges: Karl-Heinz struck 162 times and younger brother Michael 44 times, giving them 206 goals between them.

But they are still 33 goals behind the Revelli brothers, whose exploits in St Etienne's golden age make them, as far as I can deduce, the greatest pair of goalscoring brothers for one club in Europe's top divisions. Herve Revelli, the third-highest goalscorer in the history of Ligue 1, scored 175 times for St Etienne. Patrick Revelli scored 64 goals, giving them a combined total of 239.

As for the most prolific brothers ever, it is almost certainly the Rowleys. Jack is the third-highest scorer in Manchester United's history with 211 goals, behind only Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. He scored 182 league goals for United and 208 in all. Brother Arthur, who played for West Brom, Fulham, Leicester and Shrewsbury, scored an English league record 434, giving them 642 league goals in total.

I was wondering if there are ever any free agents who have been signed up by top-tier teams after the transfer window has closed. If not, why? RJ asked.

There have been. Indeed, there tend to be some after the end of every window. Providing they were unattached, they can feature for their new club straight away (in the context of players over 21 who join Premier League clubs, they are only eligible providing their new employer had not filled up the 25 places in the squad they have submitted to the authorities).

Indeed, since RJ sent in the question and after the window closed on September 2, West Ham have signed free agent Mladen Petric, who is available straight away. In previous years, there have also been several examples of players joining after the transfer window had shut; for instance, Mahamadou Diarra went to Fulham in February 2012 and Giorgos Karagounis followed him to Craven Cottage last September. Dwight Tiendalli also joined Swansea that month.

The king of the October move, meanwhile, may be James McFadden, who went to Everton in October 2011 and Sunderland 12 months later. Some moves outside the window can be answers to shortages within the squad -- for example, Newcastle, having sold Andy Carroll on January 31, 2011, signed the out-of-contract Shefki Kuqi 13 days later -- and many involve back-up goalkeepers, like Andy Marshall joining Aston Villa or Marcus Hahnemann going to Everton.

It is one sign David Moyes -- who has also signed McFadden and Thomas Hitzlsperger outside the window -- was no stranger to such deals (although, having named 25 players in Manchester United's squad, he can't bring in anyone now and pick them straight away).

The most high-profile signings outside the window tend to involve veterans: Robert Pires went to Aston Villa in November 2010 and Michael Owen signed for Stoke last September. Among elite clubs, however, the most notable deal was the short-term contract Jens Lehmann signed at Arsenal in March 2011. Because other goalkeepers were injured, he made one first-team appearance, in a victory at Blackpool.

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