QPR’s Charlie Austin is Loyal to a Fault


In modern football we see players look out for just themselves far too often. The tabloid headlines are littered with stories of this or that player agitating for a move to another club where they can make more money or achieve more fame. In stark contrast, QPR’s Charlie Austin shows his club an almost irrational amount of loyalty. In the end, Charlie Austin may be loyal to a fault.

There can be no question that Charlie Austin is good enough to be a starting, Premier League striker. It was just a year ago that he tallied 18 goals from the Rangers in their Premier League season. He has seven goals in just 12 Championship matches this season. The man can score goals. There’s a huge premium placed on that ability in football. Austin could walk right into several Premier League sides as their first-choice striker tomorrow.

Yet Austin, is not clamoring for a move away from QPR back into the Premier League. Instead he repeatedly articulates his desire to stay at QPR and help them achieve promotion. It’s almost a romantic notion that a highly paid football star would feel this way in 2015. Where most players would be calling their agent every hour, urging them to arrange a transfer, Austin seems totally at peace.

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Can we believe that Charlie Austin really feels this way? I think we can. He clearly places the happiness and well-being of his family over his own career. If you follow him on Twitter you aren’t bombarded with pictures of his wealth. Instead you see constant promotion of his local football schools. He’s the antithesis of the modern football striker.

Most also agree that he’s motivated by his family’s desire to stay in London. I’ll buy that as well. As a husband and father I can understand the stress that a move can put on a wife and children. However, I don’t see unwillingness to move as a real deal-breaker for Austin. I think he’d prefer to stay in London, and puts that desire out there as a subtle hint to London-based clubs.

I’m not saying he wants to leave, but even if he doesn’t rule it out. He’s smart to put the narrative out there about wanting to live in London. Perhaps a London-based club will pick up on that story and be more emboldened to make a bid.

The sad part about Austin’s loyalty to QPR is that it really is hurting his career. Since we know he is good enough to perform at the Premier League level we have to acknowledge that he’s playing a league below his maximum level this season. While it’s admirable to try to stay and help QPR achieve promotion that’s far from assured.

They currently sit in 13th place in the Championship and are 14 points out of an automatic promotion spot. They don’t even have a manager at the moment. While I haven’t closed the book on QPR’s promotion chances, any impartial observer can see that it’s a bit of a long-shot.

We aren’t talking about an extremely young striker with numerous years to burn here either. Austin is already 26-years old and can’t afford to squander years in the Championship. He needs only look at the ascension of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy to see what is possible for an English striker at the moment. If Austin was in the Premier League now with a good run of form he’d surely be in contention for England’s senior team. Reaching that pinnacle from the Championship is a more much difficult task.

I hate to say that Charlie Austin should leave Queens Park Rangers because I think his loyalty to the club is truly admirable. I wish more players showed the same spirit. In fact, that type of loyalty is almost extinct in football today.

Sadly though, that loyalty might be costing Austin dearly. It’s costing him fame, fortune and the chance to play for his country. We can applaud Charlie Austin’s loyalty to QPR in philosophy, but in practice all we can do is pity it.