Alex Baptiste is the next player in the hot-seat for our new feature where we get to know the person behind the player...
What’s your earliest memory?
Being at my gran’s house when I was probably about three or four years old. She lived just up the road from us. I remember being there with my mum, my gran, my granddad and my aunty. It was always a happy place. I was brought up in a little village called Ollerton, not far from Nottingham.
What sort of child were you?
I was just always outside playing sports. I was an only child and so all my cousins used to come up from London in the summer time and we’d always be out, which was good. I was pretty well behaved up until secondary school and then I was just a normal lad. I wasn’t that bad though I don’t think!
What are you best at outside of football?
I think I’m pretty good at badminton. It’s one of my hidden talents I think, so I’d challenge a lot of people at that. It stems from a friendly rivalry between me and my mate. When I go back home, we try and play each other as much as we can. It’s got quite competitive now. Once I’ve settled in here a bit more I’ll give a few of the lads a game, because I see them playing it quite a bit and I’d fancy my chances against most of them.
What would you like to be better at?
Golf, definitely! A lot of the lads here play it and I’m alright at it, but I’d love to get my handicap down to single figures. I play off about 12 or 13 at the moment, so it’s definitely something I’m trying to improve on.
Tell us a secret about yourself?
There’s been a few times I could have signed here before I actually did – about 18 months ago when Michael Appleton was here and again last summer when I left Blackpool. It’s not been on my part that I’ve not signed, just something along the line hasn’t gone according to plan.
What is your most treasured possession?
I’d probably say my play-off winners medal, especially when you consider what we went through that year. We were favourites for relegation and everyone knows the troubles that Blackpool had. It’ll never be done again. The final itself was really hot. It was absolutely roasting – about 105 degrees. For the last 10 games of the season, we conceded first in every game, so when they went 1-0 and 2-1 up it didn’t really matter. For a lot of the lads, who had come up from the lower leagues, it was the biggest game of our lives, so we were dancing around 10 minutes before the game and the manager was trying to calm everyone down. It was a brilliant time.
Who is the biggest star name in your phone book?
I got Jordan’s number recently, so I’d say him or Brian Rose, the boxer. He came in at Blackpool and did a lot of training with the lads during pre-season and I just kept in touch with him. He’s well known in his profession, so I’d say him or Jordan (Rhodes).
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Probably when I had to give a Best Man’s speech in the summer. Anyone who has done a Best Man’s speech will know how hard it is. You can’t settle down and you can’t think about anything else all day apart from that speech and standing up in front of people. I’m not really a fan of public speaking, I think everyone struggles with it, so I’d definitely say that.
Who do you most admire?
Being from that area, near Nottingham, I always looked up to Stuart Pearce and Des Walker, because they played in my position. I used to love going to watch Des Walker, because he’s not the tallest centre-half, like me, but his positioning and how fast he was, he was brilliant for Forest. Stan Collymore as well, especially when they got promoted to the Premiership, he was unbelievable that year.
Your house, your football boots and your car – which do you clean first?
My house. I’m quite a tidy person. My football boots second and then my car. I don’t really clean my car as much as I should do.
Could you survive in the wild on your own?
I think I’d have a good go. I’m quite independent to be honest, so I think I’d give it a good bash.
What kind of people do you dislike?
I dislike arrogant people, I don’t like them at all. I’m quite down to earth, that’s the way I was brought up, so I can’t really stand arrogant people.
What makes you angry?
My girlfriend leaving make-up all over the place, especially in our bathroom, that drives me insane! Losing as well. I’m a bad loser. I hate losing more than I like winning.
How many close friends do you have?
I’d say I have four close friends. My two cousins and two lads that I was at Mansfield Town with. My friends back home also, but those four are my closest friends.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Standing up and singing for my initiation in Portugal. We had a meal and a couple of drinks, then I had to sing on the bus home. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. My song didn’t go down too well, I should have picked a song that everyone knows. I did Nasty Girl by B.I.G.
What is the best decision you have ever made?
The best decision was definitely signing for Blackpool. Given everything that happened, I had five unbelievable years there.
What has been your most bizarre life experience?
I’d say Blackpool again! Washing your own kit in the Premier League. In the play-off semi-final, having to walk to the ground because the bus broke down. No balls in training, having to run on the beach because the pitch had been frozen for two weeks, no food after training, leaks in the portacabins, having to buy our own weights – just random stuff like that! It was definitely an experience!
What are three things that you would like to do before you die?
I’d like to do BASE jumping – that would be quite cool. I’d like to get back to the Premier League again. And I would like to have kids.
What team(s) do you support outside of football?
I’m a massive NFL fan and follow the New England Patriots. I absolutely love the sport and if there’s another thing I could do before I die, it would be to have a season ticket for the New England Patriots. Every Sunday night I’m absolutely glued to the TV and I’ll stay up ‘til stupid o’clock if New England are playing. My cousin’s a massive NFL fan, so there’s good rivalry there.
Are you an animal person? Do you have any pets?
Yes, I’ve got two Pugs. I wasn’t really interested in dogs, but my missus got me into getting one and they’re brilliant to be fair.
What last kept you awake at night?
The NBA finals. We went to the final – Miami against San Antonio – game three, which was an unbelievable experience and then I was watching it all through the summer. The golf as well. I was watching the closing stages of the US PGA last Sunday night and that didn’t finish until about 1.30am, so I’d say those two.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Signing here was a tough one. I’ve never really been in that position where a club has said I could go. I’ve always been well liked at the clubs that I’ve been at, so part of me wanted to stay, to show people. I’m not really the kind of person to leave somewhere after just one season, so part of me definitely didn’t want to go, but it’s been one of the best decision I’ve ever made.
What film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on TV?
Probably The Dark Knight, with Heath Ledger in. It’s an unbelievable film and the trilogy is probably the best trilogy ever.
Tell me about the last time a team-mate got angry with you. What happened?
We do boxes every Friday and Lee Williamson keeps complaining and calling me ‘Back-off Barry’ because he thinks that I’m not coming to the ball when he’s trying to pass it, but I am. He gets mad, because he keeps on having to go in the middle!
What business would you love to start?
I’d love to be in property, buying and selling houses. Maybe when my football career comes to an end, it’s something I’d definitely consider getting into. Everyone seems to be doing it.
Did you have any other jobs when you were younger?
Yes. I had a paper round, but I didn’t last very long because I couldn’t hack getting up – the early starts did my head in! Then from 14 to 16, I was a waiter, but I looked quite old for my age, so when I was about 16, I started to work behind the bar at weddings and it was brilliant. I really enjoyed it.
Could you find your way around a foreign country using just a map?
I’d like to think so. As long as I was on my own. If I was with my missus, then I think I’d struggle, because she’d do my head in!
What are you most proud of?
Playing in the Premier League. Especially as I went from playing in League Two with Mansfield and getting relegated to Blackpool signing me and scoring in my first Premier League game.
What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip training for a day, how would you spend your day off?
I’d walk the dogs, then have a round of golf in the morning, then go out with the lads.
What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Vegetables! I only started eating vegetables about two years ago. I hated them when I was growing up and I just couldn’t eat them, but I’ve had to start eating them for nutrition.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?
Picking up dog poo! Christ that annoys me!
What's the one thing you can't live without?
Probably training. No matter what sport it is. I love doing any sport and any training, providing I’ve got someone with me. I wouldn’t like to do it on my own.
Would you rather...
... skip Christmas for a year or skip your birthday for a year?
… live without your computer/laptop or your television for the rest of your life?
… be able to fly whenever you want or be invisible?
… have a beautiful house and ugly car or ugly house and beautiful car?
Beautiful house and ugly car.
... visit the world 1,000 years into the past or 1,000 years into the future?
Into the future.
... be rich and ugly or poor and good looking?
Rich and ugly.
… go sky diving or deep-sea diving?
… have a chef or a cleaner?
I’d like to have a chef, because I’m alright at cleaning.