Former Newcastle star Rob Lee has posed the question: ‘Why would Charlie Austin choose Newcastle United?’

As the one time England midfielder points out, once you go past the opportunity of playing in front of fifty thousand people, what else is there to offer?

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Rob Lee knows more than most just how great it can be playing for Newcastle United and living in the area. After all, he still makes enough trips back up here for talk-ins/dinners despite leaving the club and the area thirteen years ago.

The choice for Lee back in 1992 was Middlesbrough or Newcastle, not a difficult one, although at the time Boro were in the Premier League and Keegan had to sell the midfielder (winger at the time) his NUFC dream.

At this moment in time, Newcastle are the bookies’ favourites to land Charlie Austin, with Bournemouth a clear second in the betting, then the likes of West Ham, Crystal Palace and others.

Rob Lee talking to the Chronicle:

“The problem we are going to have is that two or three clubs want Charlie Austin and why would he choose Newcastle United?

“Playing in front of 52,000 is still a pull but Newcastle are struggling, he’s had a year of struggling and now he wants a team that can at least finish in mid-table.”

charlie austin

Who else will you buy?:

“He had that (struggle) last year with Queens Park Rangers and that will be my concern.  Even if we agree a fee of £15million and pay him what he wants, then he still has to choose to come to Newcastle.

“I would be asking- ‘Who else will you buy because the team isn’t good enough?’, if I didn’t get the answers I would possibly go to West Ham or Crystal Palace, or whichever club he gets offered.”

We would all like to think that if it is a simple choice of Newcastle or Bournemouth then a move to Tyneside is obviously going to happen.

However, as Lee points out, quite rightfully Austin could and should be asking the question, who else are Newcastle going to sign that will lift them above another relegation struggle?

Bournemouth might only be able to offer ten thousand fans to play in front of and you hope that the draw of fifty thousand would be a massive pull.

That though is not the only thing in a player’s life, Charlie Austin has just got married and has a ywo year old child, plus he’s from the south (Berkshire) and I’m guessing his wife and her family are too.

Obviously I love Tyneside as much as the next man (or woman) and know how great it is to live here, but I’m not that insular that I can’t appreciate just how nice some of the places down towards Bournemouth and the surrounding area are. Especially with Premier League wages to spend….

Austin could well think he’s got a nice lifestyle and give it a season at Bournemouth then see who else might come in for him if he scores another 18 goals, or the same at Palace, or especially West Ham – with their move to the Olympic Stadium on the horizon.

Like Kevin Keegan did for Rob Lee, Charlie Austin has to be sold a dream and of course Mike Ashley to be offering the transfer fee and wages.

If Rob Lee had chosen Middlesbrough, where would he and Newcastle United have ended up?

Let’s hope we are not wondering about what could have been with Charlie Austin after this transfer window.

He may not be a world beater but I think with another couple of equally good signings, they could just transform Newcastle United.



  • ArtyH

    If I were Austin I would be looking at the fans boards on the internet, I’m sure they all do, or their agents will, sadly ours are not good reading. Sell him the dream, come on, its a nightmare, and has been since Ashley took over. There is the very real prospect of a boycott by the genuine fans who have had enough of the oppressive way which the club has been run. The club is in turmoil, and we know it, illustrated by choice of new head coach ( the other candidate would not accept terms of employment because they were to restrictive, allegedly  ) and the inability to get him back room staff in reasonable time. As fans we love the club, but that is because its our CLUB, outsiders will have a clear and unblinkered view of the situation, which we would probably disagree with as we see things our way. Its called bias, however we are in the minority on how good the club is. 
    How do you sell the club to Austin ( failed hope I fear now ), promise to buy four more proven players who he can work with. Also sell him the dream of success with 55k supporters shouting for him every second week, and the prospect of sainthood if a cup is won.
    Well we can all dream cant we? At least the 55k supporters every second week would be true, the rest, well its all about dreams…….

  • Jimmywayhay

    Spot on report.
    Players follow the money ,which we surely have ,but have an owner who won’t spend it and a club with no ambition ,in Ashley’s master plan ,spending nowt and coming fourth bottom of the Premier league ,would be like winning the champions league .Even the mercenaries don’t want to come here and the agents know there is no value in speaking to Newcastle ,unless it’s to provoke a reaction from ,other clubs .A big name should have been lined up and agreed the first week after the premier league ended ,to create some momentum and show our intentions to other players ,where’s all these players Carver talked about ?

  • Duke Fame

    The title is a little more misleading than the text itself. Professionally, he’s had a year of keeping a side with low expectations in the league, lovely that a Sandbanks lifestyle may be, Bournemouth will offer more of the same. 

    Chelsea offer everything but playing football, Austin may well be confident in his ability to push through to the first team but even as a Chelsea fan, he will be realistic. 

    I think our biggest threat are West Ham, they have a new direction and interesting future. They just lack a lot of free cash.

  • DownUnderMag

    Players are entitled to look long and hard at who is offering the most money  There is a question mark over players who ONLY look at that but who wouldn’t take a mid table club offering more money than us at the moment?  There is little to suggest that the club is moving in any direction at all, we are treading water while those around us push on and improve.  Signing and keeping good players requires matching both their wage demands as well as their footballing ambitions, so i’m worried what we have to offer.

  • desree

    yohan cabaye is joining palace – another club punching above our weight. Charnley is way out of his depth and MA has walked away leaving him in the lions den. we look screwed

  • 1957

    The biggest difficulty in signing Austin will be location, he is from the south of England and if reports are true would prefer to stay there. What he chooses will say much about him as a person and if he thinks he has a realistic chance of starting for England, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up at Chelsea, on the best wages playing the occasional game at the highest level.
    My concern in pushing the boat out for him is what do the top teams in the division know we don’t, he hasn’t been linked seriously with many to my knowledge.
    In response to the what would have happened if Rob Lee had joined Middlesbrough, for NUFC things would not have been much different, Keegan would have found someone else, but Rob would have remained the promising attacking wide player he came to us as, I have no doubt Keegan was the making of him

  • Duke Fame

    desree With Cabaye costing £5.9m a year for 5 years AND the purchase price of £13m, I don;t think it’s us who are screwed.

  • v0ices

    Duke Fame desree after all palace are only playing in the richest league in the world and spending big on a international with a proven premier league history is pure insanity.

  • Simon Sharp

    He’s right of course. Why would you sign for Newcastle? Rob Lee signed for us (partly, if you believe urban myth, because KK convinced him Newcastle was closer to London than Middlesbrough is) because he was sold a dream of being an integral part of an ambitious squad that wanted to be a force. The man who sold him that dream was a local icon. Charlie Austin, if we even go as far as having an offer accepted, will be sold a dream of mediocrity by Lee Charnley. Not exactly romantic, is it?