As soon as Southampton came out the hat for the Carabao Cup second round, we should’ve been able to guess what was going to happen. Or to be more precise, who was going to score for the Saints.
Every club seems to have that one player who always, without fail, scores against them. For Brighton and Hove Albion, it’s Charlie Austin.
Austin’s winner at the Amex in midweek was his sixth career goal in eight games against the Albion. He’s now scored against us for Swindon Town, Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton in League One, the Championship and the League Cup. Six goals, four clubs, three different competitions.
Austin is of course not the first man to love netting or playing well against the Albion. One of the reasons that the 1998 Buy a Player Fund was such a success was that it meant Brian Horton could sign Rod Thomas.
Thomas always seemed to excel against the Albion for firstly Carlisle United and then Chester City. The best way to stop him doing so was seemingly to fork out just shy of £20,000 for him, with the vast majority of that money being raised by supporters. What better way to spend it than on bringing in a player who was not only quite good, but also ensuring that he wouldn’t be able to torment us twice a season as well. Win-win, I believe they call it.
There have been plenty of others down the years. One that we’d all be keen to forget is Glenn Murray, for all manner of reasons. Firstly, it is a reminder that because of Gus Poyet, we had to go five years without his goal scoring services. Who knows how quickly we might have reached the top flight had Poyet not decided Craig Mackail-Smith was a better alternative?
Secondly, it is a reminder that he moved to Crystal Palace and scored three times in fives appearances against us for our arch rivals. He then bagged both goals against us for Reading the one time we faced him in a Biscuitmen’s shirt. Five in six. No wonder Chris Hughton was keen to sign him, simply to stop him netting against us.
Murray actually has a fantastic record of scoring against his former clubs, full stop. He scored against Palace twice last season and once against Bournemouth and, being the classy gentleman he is, didn’t celebrate any of them.
With both Murray and Thomas, signing them stopped them scoring against us. So, if you’re reading this Mr Hughton, please go out there and sign Austin in January. With Florin Andone currently the invisible man and Jurgen Locadia still yet to convince, we’re probably a striker short should something befall Murray as it is.
Most importantly, it would guarantee that every time we face a side he is part of, he at least wouldn’t be able to score against us.
Bringing Austin in could of course be too little, too late. We’ve got to face him and the Saints at St Mary’s again in three weeks time. No guesses where your anytime goal scorer bet should be going on that day.