Charlie - ready for Hull departure
It's been the talking point since the end of last season. Actually it's been the talking point since long before the end of last season. And it looks as though we are going to get our answer very soon as to where Charlie Austin will be in 2013/14.
A lot has been said about the situation but it all became a bit clearer on Friday evening when co-chairman John Banaszkiewicz revealed on Radio Lancashire that Austin didn't want to sign a new contract with us because he wanted the opportunity to go and play in the Premier League.
My selfish view is I'd like him to be playing in a Burnley shirt in four weeks time when we entertain Bolton in front of the Sky cameras as the league season gets underway.
He's our greatest source of goals by some considerable distance and players such as Austin are difficult to replace, if not impossible. As much as I realised he was very likely to go I always hoped that he might just decide he wanted to stay.
I remember his first Burnley goal. It came in a pre-season friendly at Bury two summers ago. Somone enquired about him on the message board. He looked overweight, was seriously struggling for fitness but I replied with the comment: "I think he'll score goals for us."
He's certainly done that although I know all about the strange stats involving him and the games he has and hasn't played in.
In the last two seasons we won a total of 76 points in the 67 games he started yet hit a total of 47 points in the remaining 25 games. Why we had such a better points return without him takes some working out given the fact that he found the net a total of 41 times in the Championship in the two seasons.
I am selfish and I want the best players possible at Burnley, but the simple fact is that this could be Austin's one opportunity to go and play in the Premier League. Forgetting the fact that our finances dictate that we need to bring money in from transfers, it would be wrong to refuse him this opportunity. And in any case, from the club's point of view, we can't afford to let him stay for another year and then walk for nothing at the end of his contract.
By the end of today I would not be surprised to see him announced as a Hull player. There have been a number of clubs linked with him but, as was the case a year ago with Jay Rodriguez, it has always been one club at the forefront, and perhaps there has only been one club with a serious determination to sign him just as was the case with Jay.
When he goes, and I do now think it is right to say when rather than if, we should be grateful for the two years we got with him and wish him the very best in the Premier League next season. I was delighted on the occasions last season when the name Rodriguez was on the Premier League scoresheet and I'll be similarly pleased to see Austin's name there during the 2013/14 season.
There is no doubt he'll be missed, and I'm not sure when we'll see another goalscorer of his ilk in a Burnley shirt.
Source: Clarets Mad
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