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In Tribute: Kevin Austin (1973-2018)

27 November 2018

Tributes have poured in on social media from fans, former players and former clubs of Kevin Austin who sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the weekend.

The 45-year-old had been working as Youth Development Phase Lead Coach at Scunthorpe United's Academy set-up, joining the Iron in September 2016.

He enjoyed a long, illustrious career himself which spanned from 1992 where he began at Saffron Walden Town before having spells with the likes of Leyton Orient, Lincoln City and Swansea City before retiring twenty years after he turned professional - in 2012. 

He was eligible to play for both England and Trinidad and Tobago, opting to play for the latter on seven occasions. 

Over his career, he played for twelve different clubs, making over 500 appearances, scoring six goals.

A tribute from Academy Manager Tony Daws...

Kevin Austin - it’s really hard to put into words what a ‘top man’ this guy actually was. Kev was an absolute gentleman, one of the most respectful, polite and humble men you could ever wish to meet. Kev was a listener; he would never criticise or say a bad word about anyone. Kev had a fantastic, witty personality and was an absolute pleasure to be around. 

Kev joined us in September 2016 when he came for an interview for the Youth Development Phase Lead Coach position in the Academy. His verbal interview went really well and it was during his practical coaching interview that it became clear how he used his striking personality, his excellent coaching skills and in-depth football knowledge to engage with the players and have them hanging on his every word. 

Kev’s calm manner and demeanour were perfect for working with adolescent football players and he quickly settled in and played a very important role in the Academy. 

Kev was an excellent development coach; he knew his football and he understood how players and children learn; he was very well respected and liked by all of the players, parents and staff. 

Before his terrible illness struck, I cannot remember Kev ever being off work for any reason, he was a real hard working man who put everything in to his job and he gave it his full commitment, he was extremely dedicated to the Football Club. 

We are absolutely devastated that Kev has been taken from us so early in his life; the world has certainly lost a true gentleman and an all-round great guy. Rest in peace big Kev.

A look back to his career...

Playing for a total of twelve different teams during his 20-year playing career, Austin began with a year at Saffron Walden Town in 1992-93 - a team based in Essex. After eight appearances for the club, he made the move to Leyton Orient on a free transfer in the summer of 1993.

He would spend three years with Orient, making 126 appearances and scoring three goals over that period before a £30,000 transfer to Lincoln City. He would add a further 146 appearances to his playing career while with the Imps, scoring twice.

Austin was a firm favourite during his three-year stint at Sincil Bank and was voted in at number 56 in Lincoln's 100 league legends back in June 2007 and would be a key part of the side which won promotion to the third tier in 1998.

In 1999, his career would take him to Barnsley but a serious achilles tendon injury would restrict him to just three appearances for the Tykes. A recurrance of that injury while on loan at Brentford would see him again only manage a trio of games for the Bees before he joined Cambridge United at 2001.

In arriving at the U's, he linked up with former manager John Beck, but his injury record would continue to trouble him with his contract cancelled in March 2002 by mutual consent. He'd complete the campaign with Kettering Town, making three appearances.

2002 saw him successfully earn a contract at Bristol Rovers and over the course of the next two years he'd make a total of 61 appearances for the side as he looked to shake off the injuries that had troubled him over the preceding three years.

Two years on and he'd make the short transfer to Swansea City, albeit crossing a border in the process.

Described as "a huge favourite with Swans fans" on the tribute on their website, Austin helped the club win promotion from League Two in their final year at Vetch Field in 2004-05. That would be just one of the achievements during his four-year stay at the club.

He was also part of the squad that lifted the League One title under Roberto Martinez in 2007-08, as well as the 2006 Football League Trophy.

Kevin would make a total of 150 appearances for Swansea, including 139 starts before signing for Chesterfield in 2008.

He would complete his playing career with Darlington and Boston United before hanging his boots up in 2012.

Following his retirement, he took his UEFA 'A' license and first worked as a coach at the Sheffield Wednesday Academy prior to joining the club in 2016.

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