Clarets at Christmas: The gifts just keep on coming for Burnley midfielder as Clarets top table for festive period (From This Is Lancashire)
Clarets at Christmas: The gifts just keep on coming for Burnley midfielder as Clarets top table for festive period
TOP of the Championship at almost the halfway stage of the season – for anyone of a claret and blue persuasion it’s like birthday and Christmas all at once.
In the case of Brian Stock it actually is.
The Burnley midfielder will turn 32 tomorrow, Christmas Eve.
But celebrations will be on hold until after the festive season – one of the busiest times of the football calendar – is over.
As a child, however, Stock always enjoyed his personal party double-header.
“I was fortunate enough to have a loving family and my mum made sure that everyone made sure I had a birthday and a Christmas," said the midfielder.
“It wasn’t tied into one and she made sure that no-one bought me just one present for both.
“As the years have gone on it’s slightly blended a little bit but my wife still tries to do something for my birthday, but it’s very low key.
“Maybe a cinema trip or a pantomime or something.”
As a footballer, Stock, like the rest of his colleagues and counterparts, will forego turkey and all the trimmings.
“We’re not going to be on chicken pasta or scrambled eggs on Christmas Day, but it’s going to be something suitable for what we’re going to do on a matchday,” he said.
“You have to be really careful.
“If you think you’re going to eat 10 spuds and be able to run around on Boxing Day you’re wrong.
“You can’t drink obviously, you can’t do most things.
“You have to make sure you’re drinking the right fluids.”
With Burnley’s Boxing Day game to prepare for, Christmas Day will be similar to most other working days, although he revealed manager Sean Dyche does make allowances for family time.
“The gaffer isn’t going to bring us in on the morning. Some managers do do that,” said Stock, a father of three.
“I’m pretty sure he’s a family man himself and he sees that side of it.
“That is a good thing.
“I’ve only ever not been in on Christmas Day once before.
“I don’t think you can ever get used to it if I’m being absolutely honest.
“I’ve got used to not celebrating my birthday, that’s for sure.
“I’ve got a loving family – three great kids, and a beautiful wife who are very supportive of me.
“To travel away on Christmas Day is probably not the ideal thing but it’s the right thing to do as a professional footballer.
“This is another test of that particular type of thing.
“We’ll be travelling on Christmas Day and spending Christmas night in a hotel without the family.
“Me and Vokesy (Sam Vokes) might have a little sing-song together in the room.
“But I could be on FaceTime for about three hours that night too.
“Although it doesn’t really go down well with family time, it’s one sacrifice you have to make being a professional footballer.”
But Stock sees it as a small one when he puts it in perspective to other careers.
“The most important thing is spending Christmas Day morning at home.
“There are people who might be in Afghanistan who don’t get to be at home at all.
“There are other people not so lucky in this world, so you think yourself lucky that you get to spend some time on Christmas Day with your family.”
He added: “We’ll get up early and open the presents with the kids.
“It’s the best feeling ever, when you’ve got three children that believe in Father Christmas.
“They are nine, five and two – two boys and a girl – so this is probably the last time the big one will be believe in Santa.”
Birthday boy Stock will want to make the most of it.
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