Charlie Austin is ending the decade as he started it. In the goals.
In his last five games (at the time of writing) he has scored six goals in his last five. He started it with six in eight. We must admit that, technically, Austin’s story begins before the start of this decade; however, his story is probably the greatest footballing rags to riches tale in recent times.
Red Review spoke to him talk about the jump in level, the highs, the lows, the play-offs and leaving the club for pastures new:
Charlie, just over ten years ago you were at Poole Town in non-league football – your story is well-known here, and nationally – what was the jump like?
I think it was nine divisions, the actual step up. The quality was very different, the amount of training, the fitness, your life has to change. I was very fortunate because I had six weeks training with Bournemouth who were in League Two at the time – that gave me a very good platform.
It’s easy to say about Jamie Vardy but I don’t think my jump will happen again – it took a while for Vardy’s to evolve. Mine was instant. People don’t realise how dog & duck step five is. When are you going to get someone playing effectively Hellenic Premier level to playing for the Town in League One? I just don’t see it happening again. Hopefully, it does happen.
Your debut was at Carlisle and it didn’t take you long to get off the mark did it?
Yeah, we was going up on the Friday, as you do, and we trained at Bolton. The Manager, just before our team shape session, named the team and I was in it. I was quite taken aback because I had no heads up – that’s probably what he wanted to do, give it to me like that. My Mum and Dad were coming up but there was downpour at Carlisle and the pitch was absolutely flooded. I was in the room with Michael Timlin thinking this game is never going to be on. I’m texting my Dad saying: “How’s my luck here?”
The game was on and it was just a blur – I think my first touches in the game were a touch and finish. I remember looking at the clock and it was three minutes in. It was fantastic.
Is that quite a good metaphor for you and the team for the rest of that season – almost a whirlwind?
Yeah. 100%. To be honest, it was a match made for me and the team. I sort of think I was one of the last two pieces of the puzzle – I came in then, and Danny Ward and Stephen Darby came in in January and it felt like that completed the side. It just snowballed after that Carlisle game, for me. I scored on the Tuesday night, my home debut, against Huddersfield. I think I had ten or eleven in my first ten games. Everything was going in – the team played for the strikers which spoke volumes because I think I got 20 goals, and Billy Paynter got 28.
Speaking of Billy, how would you describe that relationship on and off the pitch?
It was crazy, actually. We trained together as part of the group but never on the same team – on a Tuesday before the Tranmere game we played a friendly up front together and it just seemed to click. Everything just went for us. Our relationship grew on the pitch – we never really saw each other off it. I was younger than him and Billy had kids – at training and around the ground, we were close. I learnt from him, watched what he brought to the team and took parts of his game.
You can read the of Charlie's Swindon story in our Boxing Day programme with interviews with Wes Foderingham, Ellis Iandolo and Ben Gladwin as well as looks back some of the goals, matches and photos of the decade.
No price increase. £3.00 as usual. 14 extra pages of content.