Jose Baxter reveals he LIED about drug test while at Sheffield United after admitting he was 40% of player he could have been for Blades
Jose Baxter, the former Sheffield United forward, has revealed he lied over a drugs test he failed whilst at Bramall Lane after admitting he was only 40 per cent of the player he could have been for the Blades.
The mercurial Liverpudlian was a wonderkid at Everton before dropping down the divisions, and scored for the Blades at Wembley in their 2014 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Hull City.
But he also failed two drugs tests in the space of nine months during his time at United, and announced his retirement from playing earlier this year at the age of just 29.
And in an interview with The Athletic, Baxter admitted he took an ecstasy tablet in 2015 – before convincing an FA panel his drink had been spiked after he subsequently failed a drug test.
“It was the first drug I ever took in my life. I don’t know why I did it to this day,” he said.
“It’s stupid because the first time I took the drug, I shouldn’t have, I went in and lied. I said I got spiked and I didn’t.
“But the second time I hadn’t taken a drug and couldn’t say anything. Nobody would believe me.”
Baxter failed a second test, after another drug test found traces of cocaine in his sample.
“I’d been at home at the Campfield Pub and had two cups of coffee,” he added.
“I went outside to use the phone and came back in and a lad who I was with gave me a vodka, lime and blackcurrant. I had one sip of it and that was it because I was in training the next day.
“I don’t know what happened but the next day they tested me and said there was a trace of cocaine in my urine sample.
“They took hair follicles to double-check and they go back as far as 10 months, which they realised was from the first time.
“But because they’d given me a formal warning the first time and there was a school of thought I should have got more, they hit me hard with the second one.
“Maybe rightly so in some ways but I don’t know. I wanted them to take the hair sample and I was offering blood tests because I knew hand on heart I hadn’t taken a drug.”
Baxter believes he was not half the player he could have been during his time at United.
“I played 18 months at Sheffield United. I was their highest goalscorer in a decade,” he said. “But I honestly believe I was only 40 per cent of the player I could have been.
“I was overweight, not really fit but was the top goalscorer in two seasons from centre midfield. We got to FA Cup semi-finals and Carling Cup semis against Tottenham.
“At first, I used to commute to Sheffield with Conor Coady who was on loan there. Then after about 10 months, I moved up there. My ex, Cindy, and I got a place and she got a job but I fell into gambling.
“I’d finish training and she’d be at work and a couple of the lads who lived on their own would say, ‘Shall we go the bookies?’.
“It started from there. Taking that drug was a gamble. Going out drinking when I was playing was a gamble. I’d gamble with relationships when I shouldn’t have. With money.
“I’ve since realised I was just a gambler with everything in life.”
Baxter has now returned to Everton as a youth coach, and has set his sights on becoming a future manager at Goodison Park.