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Bird's Eye View: Life After Charlie

15 August 2013

Clarets Player commentator Phil Bird returns with his weekly column

Life After Charlie:
It was a strange summer. Burnley fans expected clubs to chase Charlie Austin.
His goalscoring record was so good there was going to be a queue of clubs in line. When the Hull City move fell through there was hope he would sign on again.
Not so, Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers stepped in with just 48 hours to go before the start of the new season.
What has happened since is a credit to the players, manager, staff and set up at Turf Moor.

A hugely encouraging draw against fancied Bolton and good away wins at York and Sheffield Wednesday means we have made a fine start to the 2013-14 season. 
Danny Ings and Sam Vokes have responded well to Austin’s transfer. They looked a really strong partnership at Hillsborough. We need to bring in a few new faces but I’m sure we can be competitive in this division.

Austin missed nine league games last season. Our record without him in the side in league games since August 2012 reads won six, drawn two, lost three.

It’s 20 points out of a possible 33 now, Austin is a fantastic striker, but there is life after Charlie!

A Big Hand For The Glovers:
A little bit of history is set to be made at Turf Moor on Saturday with Burnley facing Yeovil Town for the very first time.
Gary Johnson’s side have done fantastically well to rise to the Sky Bet Championship. They were playing Conference football ten years ago, but we can’t afford to underestimate them. 
They are used to the underdog tag, and have continually turned that into an advantage.
Whilst the relegation clubs receive circa £18 million for being relegated from the Premier League last season, the Somerset club operate on an annual budget that stands at a fraction of that. 
It’s a real fairytale story!

Paddy Madden is the man to watch. The ex-Carlisle striker made his Republic of Ireland debut against Sam Vokes and Wales on Wednesday night.
He scored 23 goals last season as the Glovers won promotion via the play offs. 

Early Cup Fever:
I had to check the calendar last week. August 5, 2013 and yet Preston were celebrating like they had won the cup!
Our performance was impressive at Bootham Crescent but the celebrations were thankfully a little more subdued.
Joking aside though, Burnley v Preston North End in round two is a fantastic cup tie. 
And with Blackpool, Rovers and Bolton all in our division, I think you have to go back to the 1960-61 for the last time we have played all four in the same season either in the league or major cup competitions. It could be a great night.

Tigers? Not Grrrrreat!
I had to laugh at Hull’s decision to change their name from Hull City AFC to Hull City Tigers. 
Club owner Assam Allam said “City is a lousy identity. Hull City AFC is so long”.
The change is all very American, very “franchise”.
The identity ‘City’ hasn’t done Manchester City any harm! 
It’s going to be a tough season for the Humberside club.
I’ve got a feeling they will be more like pussycats than Tigers!

The views in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Burnley Football Club

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