We caught up with Billericay striker, Jake Robinson, early in May to find out about his “life in lockdown”, coming to terms with the uncertainty faced by footballers, personal highs & lows of the season, views on away performances, his plans for next season and thoughts on the long-term. If you’ve missed Jake this last few months, take the opportunity to catch up with him now!
How are you dealing with the current restrictions?
We’re alright. We’ve got a routine, the three of us, Me, Kim, and baby, Willow. I’ll go and exercise when Willow goes down for her nap in the morning, we’ll have lunch when she naps in the afternoon, and we normally come out for a little walk, stretch our legs, and buy some groceries in the afternoon. That’s pretty much what it is on repeat.
Are you staying in touch with a lot of people?
I’m speaking to my parents more than I ever was before to be honest. Seeing them a lot more on Facetime. I think my mum is missing Willow more than she’s missing me! Friends as well, catch up with them mainly over whatsapp and been staying in touch that way. The hardest bit is not seeing people face-to-face.
How are you keeping fit?
I’m doing a bit of work in the garden and some 5k’s. I’ve cut the runs back a little bit to twice a week to keep ticking over. It’s one of those things with football – you can’t replicate match fitness. Obviously trying to stay in shape and been doing some work out’s in the back garden. Once the season was officially cancelled, and I knew nothing would be going on until at least July at the earliest, I’m using this as an extended break and trying to recover the body a bit.
How do you come to terms with the uncertainty?
The most difficult in terms of being a player, both physically and psychologically, is that we don’t know when we’re going back. It’s not like you can have a timetable or work to a plan of getting fit to be back for a pre-season or the start of a new season. Everything’s up in the air, which is obviously understandable. I think everyone – from nurses, civilians, footballers, would like a bit of clarity so that they can move forward.
How would you feel if your goals had been voided? (post Interview – we saw that League was not voided)
My goals have been scored and are in the record books and for me that doesn’t change. I’d like to think that everyone at Billericay and even at National South level will still count those goals in their records. I certainly will, I’ll be telling my grand-kids about the 29 goals I got this season and showing them the hat-trick balls that’s for sure.
Away at Welling? Was the feeling that it shouldn’t have been played?
Once the Leagues’ above and below had already cancelled, it seemed ridiculous and everybody felt like they were being put in harm’s way. No one knew the extent of what was coming at that time. In football, it should have been one rule for all. As soon as the Premier league and EFL clubs had cancelled, it should have filtered all the way down.
I do think that showed on the pitch. There were a lot of players that didn’t want to be playing. People were thinking about their families and taking back stuff home from the game. At the end of the day, Welling were in the same boat and they put on a better performance than we did.
Looking back at season: high points/low points
Early season form from a personal point of view. Although I wasn’t starting every game, which was very frustrating, getting winning goals was nice. I think I said at the time that I hadn’t had many late winning goals for Billericay. It was nice to grab a few of those and everything was looking rosy at the time. We were looking strong and in a good place.
The Cup run was obviously a high moment, a big lift for the club. Conversely, I was really disappointed with the draw. Not the performance as Forest Green Rovers (FGR) were obviously two Leagues above us and top of that one. I just think it was a nice day out but it could have been a lot better. I don’t think we did ourselves justice on that day unfortunately. FGR played really well and we couldn’t lay a finger on them. That was a real disappointing end to the cup run.
Some games like Concord, where we did really bad, mostly away from home. It was an up and down season for me. The highs were really high and the lows really low. I wasn’t in the team every week this season, which was frustrating to me. I think this break has probably done me the world of good in terms of recovering my body and mentally as well.
Concord away was a Shocker. Why can’t we replicate home form on our travels?
It’s a good question and if me or you knew the answer definitively, we’d probably be managing in the Premier league. There seem to be a lot of people that can’t work it out. I guess at home you’re in a comfort zone. You’re going in, seeing friendly faces, chatting to your mates, and taking your lucky spot in the changing room.
Maybe you’re more relaxed, more comfortable. It’s crazy really because it seems to happen mainly at lower levels. You don’t get many Premier League, Championship teams who are famously bad away from home. Obviously, home teams have a slight advantage but not like the record we’ve had the last year or so. I’m not too sure, out of routine, bit unsettled, I can’t think of a reason for it.
Are you expecting to be back at BTFC next Season?
As far as I know, I’m contracted at Billericay and I’ve told that to a couple of other clubs that have contacted me (about next season). I’d love to stay, I’ve got some unbroken records to carry on chasing and a lot of close relationships there with fans, staff, players, which I’d love to carry on with.
I’m looking forward to coming back July/August (NB- No date given as yet) and starting again with a good squad of players. I still can’t name the names but people that Jamie’s been talking about bringing in are quite exciting. It does make me look forward to next season, certainly.
Everything about next season sounds great, they are doing the pitch, we’ll be training at the stadium, which is massive for me. We’ve been training all over the place and it’s so draining mentally not knowing where we’re training. One Thursday night, we trained in Stevenage, which is 200 miles from home. (Next Season) I can get there early if I need to and get on the pitch and do some individual work. It’s going to make the club feel a lot more professional.
Thoughts on your longer-term future?
It’s a good question and one I’ve been thinking about myself for a few years now. I started thinking about it as I dropped out of pro football, got a job with the Chairman of Whitehawk, when playing for them. I was very grateful at the time. I was working in his office. He has a building and maintenance firm. It made me realise that it wasn’t the job that I could do long-term. I need to do something more active.
I’ve always said that I can’t imagine my life not being in football and I’m imagining that I can stay in football as long as possible. I’m not sure in what capacity that will be at the moment. I don’t know if I’ll be a coach. I’ve always more enjoyed the fitness side of things, strength, conditioning, physio, along those lines. Maybe I’ll look into that a bit further down the line.
I’m getting to the age now where a lot of people I knew through football and played with are getting managers’ jobs in football. I’m hoping these connections may help me out one day. I know this sounds ridiculous but I do think I’m getting better with age. I feel fit and my mind buys me an extra few yards on the pitch because I’m seeing things a lot clearer than when I was a professional.
In terms of the long-term, this is a conversation me and Kim have a lot. Luckily the owners of Billericay are really fantastic and looking after everyone. I’m sure it’s not always the same at all non-League clubs. You know just in an instant your whole income could have been taken away because this is all I do at the moment. I’m giving everything to Billericay so I am
thinking in the background what I want to do with the rest of my life. Retirement is an awful long time for a footballer but to be honest with you I don’t really know at the moment.
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