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Football: Without Poole, I wouldn't have been a pro says Austin
CHAMPIONSHIP star Charlie Austin admitted his dream life in professional football would have been impossible without Poole Town and stated: “They got my career back on track.”
Austin was speaking ahead of his return to Dorset as the special guest at his former club’s charity sportsman’s dinner in Bournemouth tonight.
The striker swapped life as a part-time player and bricklayer when his prolific performances for Poole earned him a move into the Football League.
After scoring 64 goals in 57 Dolphins appearances, Austin joined Swindon Town before a big-money switch to Burnley, where he has carved a reputation as one of the leading lights outside of the top flight.
Austin has netted 80 times in 151 professional appearances since leaving Tatnam and that remarkable record has seen him linked with the likes of Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Reading.
Poole are already understood to have profited to the tune of around £200,000 from Austin’s Swindon transfer and subsequent achievements.
But the 23-year-old says he also owes a lot to Poole after joining the club following his family’s move to the area.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, Austin said: “I left Hungerford, still playing non-league, not really thinking I was going to get a football career. I went to Poole Town and everything changed for me.
“I knew I could score goals but I never realised I would be able to do it as frequently as I did at Poole. The Wessex Premier and the Hellenic Premier are the same standard and when I left Hungerford, I had not done so well there.
“I went to Poole Town and had to show myself. I was glad my mum and dad moved because if I hadn’t gone to Poole Town, I don’t think I would be a professional footballer.
“It was a massive step for me to move to Bournemouth. I took the gamble and it has paid off.”
Burnley hotshot Austin will take part in a question-and-answer session at this evening’s event, which will raise funds for Poole Town and the Wessex Cancer Trust.