Rags to Riches
Being an exiled Fox living in Poole, I have personally witnessed the rise of a player from the semi-pro ranks up to the Premier League, in the guise of Charlie Austin.
September 26th, 2014
Charlie recently kicked off his Premier League career with a goal in the match against Sunderland, but in media inches the coverage this got was small fry to our very own Jamie Vardy’s arrival on the big stage.
The date was Sunday 21st September 2014, a date none of the 31,784 fans packed into The KP or the many more watching live on Sky will forget. I am guessing there are a few Manchester United fans who won’t forget it either.
Jamie Vardy – who four years ago was playing non-league football – had risen from the ranks of Stocksbridge Park Steels, via Halifax Town & Fleetwood Town to become the most expensive and the first £1m non-league footballer, with his move to then-Championship side Leicester City.
After a poor first season when he struggled to make the step up, and when he even considered quitting the game, to last season’s record-breaking squad Jamie’s transformation seemed complete. 16 goals last season alongside top scorer Nugent – who only beat him because he had penalty duty – saw The KP at last see the best of this young man.
And so to last Sunday and THAT game. Leicester came out 5-3 winners with Vardy providing the cross for the first, earning the penalty for the second, a hand in the third scoring the fourth himself and repeating the penalty gain for the 5th – this was the Premier League début that dreams are made of.
Putting aside the crocodile tears of The Red Devils fans who cannot take defeat gracefully and don’t like it when they suffer at the hands of dodgy penalties (two words here: Ashley Young), it was a performance that had the press in all forms purring, with Ian Wright suggesting a possible England call-up in the not too distant future.
This was truly a rags-to-riches story that Disney themselves would have been proud to have written.