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🗫 Baldock | "Health is first and foremost, football is an aside, a by-product"

Royals striker on how he's keeping fit and engaged during the frustration of football lockdown...

30 March 2020

"These are unprecedented circumstances for everyone," Royals striker Sam Baldock said to BBC Radio Berkshire on Saturday. "But first and foremost is the health of everyone - football is an aside, a by-product. It's naturally something a lot of people are talking about, but it's a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

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Instead of entertaining us on the pitch, Sam was speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire at 3 o'clock on Saturday this weekend. But he is fully aware of a role he and his teammates can play from a distance.

"Footballers have a platform, we can help provide the right message," he said. "But we can also provide a bit of positivity and a bit of light for people.

"There are a lot of children who watch us play who don't necessarily understand what is going on, so if they can see or hear a footballer shining some light on the tough times we're all going through at the moment they might appreciate that.

"The majority of these young people won't maybe realise why they're not going to school, it won't really hit home when they are a bit older. Hopefully it will just be a memory for them and they'll be asking 'do you rememeber that crisis we were in?'"


Our squad are all social distancing as government and medical guidance suggests but they are also keeping themselves ready for a return when football does decide to resume.

"There have been a few conversations going on between all the players, just seeing how everyone is, how everyone is keeping busy.

"We've got the uncertainty of when we're going back to training. We've had the start date put back three times now, after EFL meetings and government guidelines. But there has been a lot of contact with the club, we're being sent through fitness programmes and we've literally just had a link through to body weight scales if we want to help ourselves stay in touch with our body weight.

"If I do go outside for a run, it's got to be only once a day of course - so I've got to make the most of it when I do!

"The aim is to keep ourselves ticking over, maintaining the fitness levels. I don't think it's the time to be increasing fitness levels because you risk burn out.

"So we've got strength programmes that we can do, body weight work in the living room and I've got an exercise bike arriving tomorrow. The more intense extreme running sessions will need to be done on grass though when we know what we're walking towards.


"On a professional level, you've got to make sure you look after yourself during this period. Not just physically, but mentally too. There's no real structure to your days at the moment, so for your own wellbeing you've got to be quite disciplined - get up, have a shower, get changed... otherwise you end up losing hours.

"Hopefully we all get through this healthy and it'll be a mere memory in time. One thing is it's definitely bringing the community together and I think that bond will stay relevant for years to come."

And when will football be back? It's still guesswork. But Baldock is keen to get these final nine games done if at all possible.

"You can't start a competition and then not finish it. You have to pursue with the aim of completing the season. 

"Playing behind closed doors wouldn't be the first choice for anyone, because we're in the entertainment business. But if there is a way for us to play these remaining games and for people to watch them, somehow, that would be the perfect solution."

And in the meantime, Sam is certainly being kept busy by his little one at home. "He's 2 next month, but my appreciation for stay at home parents has gone through the roof, I can't tell you!

"I wish you could have a pause button with him; the two-hour naps in the afternoon are definitely appreciated each day. But he's great fun.

"And it's good to spend so much time with my family, although I wish it was under different circumstances. We're all getting by. And we were out the front of our house the other night, clapping for the NHS workers.

"I think the majority of my street were out there as well - there are a few of my family who work in the NHS so we're very proud of the work that is going on."

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