I’m not entirely sure why but I find it hard to warm to QPR. Perhaps I’m afraid that one day I’ll wake up to find that Harry Redknapp has embezzled my pension and somehow extracted all my bones and given them to the illegal crocodile farm he probably owns. Perhaps it’s just because they have a chance to punch Rio Ferdinand in the face every day and, to the best of my knowledge, choose not to.
But recently, in spite of my reservations, I find myself being increasingly won over. And the reason for that is a rather glorious fellow named Charles Austin.
Now an unbreakable rule of football journalism demands I point out that Charlie Austin was a bricklayer. And while ‘Man With Job Now Has Other Job’ is hardly the astonishing story it’s made out to be, there is something in Austin’s rise to the Premier League that adds considerably to his appeal.
— Alex Bowles (@Bowlezy10) May 12, 2014
Bagging loads of goals in low league, but loftily named, competitions like the Hellenic divisions was an eye-catching apprenticeship. It was also one that gave Austin the chance to turn pro with Swindon, build a reputation with Burnley and ultimately find himself in the Premier League with QPR.
And the fact that Austin has never scored less than 17 goals in a full season since becoming professional is probably more relevant praise than the fact he could knock you up a moderately sturdy barbeque.
Hang on though. This is the Premier League, the (inverted commas) greatest (scoff) league (chortle) in the world (laughed so hard I did a powerful wee). This isn’t the place where a young rapscallion from the depths of amateur football arrives and does well.
Scoring goals in this division demands you to be a tiny Argentinean with delicious footwork, or a Spanish scoundrel with a combined thirst for scoring goals and smacking you repeatedly in the face.
But, nevertheless, Austin has already achieved an entirely respectable return of 8 goals in 14 games.
PHOTO: Charlie Austin celebrates his goal for QPR against Burnley pic.twitter.com/qFrte31hSB
— Purely Football (@PurelyFootball) December 6, 2014
For anyone who saw the way QPR began the season, this figure only becomes more impressive. At the beginning of the campaign QPR were so shapeless you can only assume that they somehow mistook Harry Redknapp’s trembling, baggy face for the tactics board. In this environment, Austin hasn’t just scored goals in a struggling team, he’s scored goals that have gone a long way to helping that team to struggle a great deal less.
Not only has he found the net against top three botherers Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton he’s also scored the goals that defeated Aston Villa, Leicester and Sunderland. As strikers go, no one has individually put more points on the board that Austin.
Naturally his form has led to rumours of big clubs sniffing around, big clubs like (inverted commas) Spurs and (titter) Liverpool. Oddly, a lot of Liverpool fans on Twitter have reacted rather sniffily to the rumours, presumably because they’re all thoroughly delighted with a strike force so productive it might as well be swapped for a big bag of dry eels.
Roy Hodgson is also being urged to point his own trembling, baggy face in Charlie Austin’s direction. And if Harry Kane (scorer of lots of goals in a European competition that’s about as appealing as having Nigel Farage talk to you at length about virulent anal leakage) is in the England manager’s thinking, then perhaps Austin isn’t such an unrealistic idea.
Whether or not England, or a big move, happens Austin has won friends amongst Premier League fans and will continue to win more – whether that’s through more important goals, or more punches straight into the startled face of Rio Ferdinand. Preferably while he’s tweeting about someone’s mum.