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There were just two days to go before the 2013/14 season kicked off and the news coming out of Turf Moor was that we’d sold Charlie Austin to Queens Park Rangers just a short time after a deal with Hull City had been cancelled due to a knee injury.

Austin, who had signed for us from Swindon in January 2011, left having scored 41 goals in 82 league games and he went on to better that at QPR. He spent two and a half seasons there, scoring 45 in 82 and that included 18 in their 2014/15 Premier League season.

He moved on to Southampton in January 2016 but the last five years have brought just 26 league goals, seven of those from the penalty spot. He left Southampton for West Brom in August 2019 after a very public fall out with manager Ralph Hasenhüttl . More than half of his Saints’ appearances were as a substitute and it’s been the same at West Brom. All his five appearances this season have been as a substitute, the last two games they played before the sacking of Slaven Bilic and then three games under the management of Sam Allardyce.

He was expected to feature in yesterday’s FA Cup tie for West Brom at Blackpool but instead has returned to QPR on loan until the end of the season. It was West Brom’s sporting and technical director Luke Dowling who reported it for the Baggies. He said: “I’d like to thank Charlie for his dedication and professionalism during his season and a half with us. Everyone at the training ground will miss Charlie’s presence and we all wish him well in his future career.”

I’m assuming from those words that Austin’s contract must be at an end this summer at West Brom but he’s been welcomed with open arms at QPR. “I’m absolutely delighted we have been able to bring Charlie in,” manager Mark Warburton said. “There are two reasons why I’m so pleased. The first is because of his undoubted quality, experience and standing in the game. The second reason is because of Charlie’s hunger and desire to return to the club.”

Austin said: “I am delighted. When I was told there was a chance of it happening I grabbed it with both hands. Walking into the ground today has brought a lot of the memories back. It’s special for me and special for my family.”

He added: “I’ve matured as a footballer and as a person, and now it’s time for me to help the club get out of the position they’re in, that’s why I’m here. The love is there. There is a special bond between my family and QPR. I know people are going to question about coming back and ruining my reputation. I don’t think I am going to do that one bit. I am here to succeed. I still have plenty of fire in my belly.”

Since signing for Swindon in 2009, he has scored 144 goals in 330 league games with the 45 he scored for QPR the most he’s scored for any club. A huge favourite during his time at Burnley, as his record would suggest, at least he’s out of our league now. He did have that knack of scoring against us.

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