Austin follows in Noble's footsteps
WHEN Charlie Austin found the net in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, he became the first Burnley player to score 10 goals before the end of September since Peter Noble in 1975.
Both joined the Clarets from Swindon, the venue for Austin’s 10th goal of the campaign on his return to his old club in midweek.
Noble remembers how he had to fend off interest from rival teams after 11 goals from midfield in his first 10 games of the 1975/76 season, but he hopes Burnley will be able to hang on to Austin for some time to come.
The 23-year-old is currently the top scorer in all four divisions with 10 goals in nine matches.
“When I was doing well I did have clubs ringing me up asking if I was interested in joining them,” he said.
“I said, ‘No I’ve just signed a new contract at Burnley’.
“I hadn’t, I just said that I had! “I didn’t want to go anywhere, Burnley were such a welcoming club to me.
“They’re not a club who have a lot of money, they never have been. Even when Bob Lord was there he would never spend a lot of money. They’re not like Manchester City or Manchester United.
“Jay Rodriguez was a good player who scored a lot of goals for them and it was a shame they had to sell him.
“I hope they can hang on to Austin. That’s a very good record, to have scored 10 goals in nine games.”
The 1975/76 campaign was a remarkable one for Noble, who looks back on it now with mixed feelings.
Despite 11 goals in 10 games, Burnley won only one league match in that period.
That came thanks to his hat-trick in a 4-1 triumph at home to Middlesbrough.
Two weeks later he scored four against Norwich, only to see the Clarets let a two-goal lead slip and concede an equaliser in the final minute. The game finished 4-4. “I was surprised to have scored 11 goals so quickly that season, but sometimes in football you just have good spells like that,” said Noble, a renowned penalty king who netted twice from the spot in those opening weeks of the season.
“Sometimes you have spells where you miss and sometimes you have spells where you score.
“At that time I just felt like every time I got a chance I would put it away.
“It was the same with my penalties.
“I had the record of 28 penalties and never miss-ing one.
“Some people have scored more penalties, but they missed a few. I just always thought I would score.
“I scored a hat-trick against Middlesbrough and I scored four against Norwich but we still didn’t win the game, we drew 4-4.
“I just remember at the final whistle going into the centre circle, sitting down and thinking, ‘I’ve scored four and we still haven’t won!’ “It can’t have happened very often over the years.”
And while Austin’s lightning start to the season has only proved enough to put Burnley 16th in the Championship table, it was worse for Noble.
As it turned out, Burnley were relegated from the top flight that season – even though Noble netted 17 goals in total in all competitions.
Despite his contribution, Noble said he took equal responsibility for the Clarets’ relegation from Division One.
“When I was scoring goals I had very good service from my team-mates,” he said.
“I was never that bothered about who was actually scoring the goals, it is a team game.
“We were relegated and I think it was defensively that we had more problems.
“But I was never one to say, ‘I’ve been scoring, so what are you doing?’.
“It wasn’t like that. It was down to the whole team that we were relegated.
“It is a team game, we were all in it together and we all took responsibility along with the manager.”
Austin will hope to equal Noble’s tally today, having already become only the fourth Burnley player to hit 10 goals before the end of September.
Ray Pointer netted 12 in the 1961/62 season, while George Beel hit 10 early in the 1928/29 campaign.
“I don’t go to the games now but I speak to people in the pub about them and of course I want them to do well,” said Noble, who stayed at Burnley until 1980 and still lives in the area.
“Chelsea were one club who were interested when I was at Burnley but I didn’t want to go to London.
“I had been down south playing for Swindon, but I’m from Sunderland and I wanted to be in the north.
“Burnley played good football and I wanted to win things, although I know we didn’t in the end. But I definitely don’t regret staying.”