Despite the loss of their manager Eddie Howe last week 23 year old former bricklayer Charlie Austin is the name on everyone’s lips. Plucked from non-league football only three years ago his first team goal tally already stands at 18 goals in 14 games & has equalled Ray Pointer’s record of scoring in eight successive matches, set in 1958-59.
Born in Hungerford, Austin trained with Reading’s youth system as a youngster but was released for being too small. He subsequently played for local teams AFC Newbury,Thatcham Town, Kintbury Rangers and his hometown side of Hungerford Town. Moving with his family to Bournemouth, he then switched to nearby semi-professional Wessex League Premier Division team Poole Town while also working as a bricklayer.
Austin was offered a trial at Swindon Town in September 2009 after their chairman Andrew Fitton, who had been Hungerford Town’s chairman while Austin was a player at the club, recommended him to Swindon manager Danny Wilson. Austin impressed and on 2 October he was signed for an undisclosed fee and given a contract until the end of the season.
Despite suffering a dislocated shoulder in September, Austin scored another 17 goals in 27 games at the start of the 2010–11 season. His form prompted several Championship clubs to make offers for him during the January transfer window – all of which were rejected by Swindon.
On 28 January 2011, Austin signed for Burnley on a three-and-a-half-year contract. He made his Burnley debut on 1 February in a 1–0 loss away to Doncaster Rovers. In his first full season with Burnley, Austin scored 16 goals in the Championship and finished the campaign as the club’s top goalscorer in the league.
Burnley’s goalscoring record is 29 league goals in a season, set by Willie Irvine in 1965-66.
Former Northern Ireland international Irvine has no doubts that Austin will be a record-breaker, saying:
“Charlie gets into so many scoring positions centre-backs can’t work out how to stop him. The goals will keep coming and I will be first to congratulate him when he breaks my record.
“He’s a big, confident lad. A nightmare for defenders.”
Former Clarets Manager Eddie Howe said;
“Charlie is lethal,”
“I remember picking up the local paper in Bournemouth and he seemed to be scoring four and five every week for Poole Town.
“My thought at the time was ‘You’ve got to go and watch this kid.’