Charlie Austin will leave Burnley sooner rather than later, writes Kevin Robinson, but that’s not what I’m bothered about.
“We need to win and we need to get three points, wherever they come from, and we need it fast,” Austin pleaded after last night’s hat-trick was not enough to win anything more than a point at a wet and windy Turf Moor.
In the space of just four days, we’ve thrown away home leads to poor teams at the bottom of the league. We’ve now lost ten points from winning positions and it must be mightily frustrating for the country’s top goal-scorer to be sat 15th in the Championship. To be honest I feel sorry for him – what must it feel to give your team the lead three times only for it to disappear each time – and within a minute twice?
It goes without saying that he deserves much more and you can almost guarantee that there will be plenty of managers keeping a very close eye on him. He’s shown great consistency throughout his career, is still young and clearly continuing to improve all the time – with 19 goals in 19 games why wouldn’t there be massive interest?
If he can keep on scoring until January you can be sure the board will have enquiries and probably bids to contend with – and if the money is right it will be very difficult to keep him at Turf Moor. But that’s not the issue for me – he does deserve better than what we’re currently offering him and it’s just a matter of when we sell him and for how much, rather than if.
What bothers me is having nothing to show for his special form. What’s the point in having the most lethal player in the country if all he’s doing is keeping us floating around mid-table and giving us a little to cheer about through overwhelmingly frustrating and disappointing draws to rubbish teams?
When he’s gone I want to look back and think ‘those were really special times’ rather than ‘he made rubbish times a bit less rubbish‘. I want to remember. I want his goals to mean something. I’m not saying we need to be winning the league – but I want them to let us at least threaten for a play-off place.
I’m not writing our chances of achieving that off, mind. While we’re languishing down the bottom, the league is still really tight and anything can happen – had we not bottled away the lead in our last two home games we’d be ninth and only a point outside the play-offs.
But if we are to have any hope of doing anything particularly exciting we need to stop being so, well, rubbish. We can’t keep on dropping leads – we’ve now lost ten points from losing positions and it’s quite simply not good enough at all.
Some have cast doubts over Austin’s ability to perform in the Premier League but I have full confidence he would have quite the impact. His relative lack of pace is not a problem for it’s his brain, movement and fierce finishing that do all the work. He’s got that special knack of making loads of room for himself - and he does it by outsmarting his opposition, rather than outrunning them. Charlie is a pure finisher, rather than an all-round forward.
When he gets the call from a bigger, richer, more successful club it will be difficult for him to forget the frustration of the past few days and others like them. Please just let him make a real mark at Turf Moor before it’s too late.
Sort it out Burnley – for Charlie’s sake.