16 February ~ Swindon was recently chosen as the town lucky enough to be twinned with Disney World. Some have put it down to Swindon's famous magic roundabout but football fans in the town have a better suggestion – Charlie Austin. The young man with the comic book name was signed by Swindon in October 2009 completing a remarkable rise that would not look out of place on the big screen.
As a kid Austin trained with Reading but a knee injury and his diminutive stature meant they didn't take him on. Austin continued to play, and to grow, catching the eye of Andrew Fitton, chairman of Hungerford Town. Fitton saw potential and two years later signed Austin for his club. However a family relocation meant a move further south to Poole in Dorset. It was at Poole Town that Austin made his mark. Now six feet tall, he scored 46 goals in as many games for his Wessex League club. Andrew Fitton then became chairman of Swindon Town and wanted the young striker who had passed him by a few seasons ago. Eighteen months on Fitton finally secured his man in October 2009, completing a remarkable step-up for the youngster.
With 12 goals in 14 League games for the Robins, Austin has already begun attracting the attention of bigger clubs. He has repaid the faith shown in him by Swindon, signing a new two-and-a-half-year deal while forming a formidable strike partnership with veteran Billy Paynter, which has seen the club rise to fifth in the table. Austin is still only 20 so even if Swindon don't gain promotion, there is every chance that he'll be playing at a higher level soon. Matt Hocken