sam baldock, Oxford United’s former Bristol City and MK Dons talisman retires aged 34

Oxford United’s former Bristol City and MK Dons talisman retires aged 34

Oxford United striker Sam Baldock has announced his retirement from professional football on the club’s YouTube channel.

Baldock, 34, has been an EFL mainstay since coming through MK Dons‘ youth academy as a youngster.

He’s been on the books with Oxford United since February 2022, joining after his exit from Derby County in the January prior. The striker’s time with the U’s has been hampered by injuries, limiting him to just 11 appearances. In those outing, he notched four goals and one assist.

Now though, Baldock has announced his decision to bring an end to his playing career.

Speaking to the club’s official YouTube channel (quotes via the Witney Gazette) about the decision, he explained how injuries have hampered his time at the Kassam Stadium, saying:

“Injuries definitely plagued my time here and my career.

“It’s something when you put so much effort in, to try and get back fit time and time again, it eventually just wears you down. That’s what happened to me. At the end of the time that I was playing here, I was going on the pitch just thinking what was going to happen next.

“In my last game, I knew I was undercooked and wasn’t really ready.

“But the timing of everything around the club, the league position we were in, the pressure under the manager and just how desperate I was to be back fit and be contributing.”

Baldock later explained that he felt as though he didn’t want to keep putting himself or the people around him through the struggles of his injuries.

He’s sticking around with his boyhood club though having taken up a role as a business development analyst.

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sam baldock, Oxford United’s former Bristol City and MK Dons talisman retires aged 34

Who is this?

 

An established EFL striker

While – as Baldock acknowledges – he struggled with injuries at times, the Buckingham-born striker was a reliable EFL goalscorer over the course of his career.

He first caught the eye at MK Dons, coming through their youth ranks and netting 43 goals in 125 games for the club. That earned him a big move to West Ham, where he managed five goals in 24 before moving on the next year.

Baldock would join Bristol City, where he enjoyed a fruitful two years. He managed 36 goals and eight assists in 93 outings, then joining Brighton where he netted 20 goals and laid on 18 assists in 94 games.

A three-year stint at Reading followed but he wasn’t quite able to reach the same level, then spending a short spell with Derby County in 2021.

After seeing out his career with the club he supported as a youngster, Baldock’s focus will now turn to his life after playing football. He leaves plenty of fans with memories of his goalscoring across his years in the Football League.

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