BRETT Ormerod’s Blackpool career isn’t over just yet.
Internet tributes poured in when the Seasiders revealed the hugely popular striker was being released.
Ormerod told The Gazette: “There were so many of them I couldn’t keep track. My phone kept bleeping all morning with messages coming in – it was driving me mad!”
But all isn’t quite as it seems. Put simply, the 35-year-old’s contract has expired– and that’s why, technically, he has been ‘released’ – but he has already arranged to meet chairman Karl Oyston in the coming weeks and he will be offered a deal for next season.
For his part, Ormerod – the only man to have hit the target for Blackpool in all four divisions, and the scorer of the historic winning goal in the 2010 Championship Play-off final – believes he is still good enough to play in the second tier.
And the striker thinks he can play another important role, acting as a mentor for the younger members of the squad, such as Matt Phillips and Tom Ince.
Ormerod said: “Obviously I haven’t played as much as I’d have liked this season, but I have been there or thereabouts over the last few months.
“I was always making the squads but just not making the bench, or making the bench and not getting on. That is just football but it doesn’t mean I haven’t got anything left to offer.
“My fitness is good, I’ve got experience and know-how, and I can do a job when I’m called upon.
“I still think I can play for a year or two and I can do a job at Championship level.
“I knew when I signed at the start of last season that I wouldn’t be playing week in, week out but I still feel I can make an important contribution when needed – and not just on the pitch.
“We’ve got some brilliant young lads who have come through this season, like Matty and Tom. They have had a great year, gone from strength to strength, and if I can play a small part in helping them get further along the way, which I like to think I can, that would be great.
“I think I can still play an important role in that sense as well as playing.”
Ormerod is expected to meet the chairman in the next week or so, before departing on a family holiday.
“I am not ruling anything out at this stage. I am just going to sit down and have a chat with the chairman and that’s it. We will just take it from there,” he added.
“Whatever happens, I have had seven and a half years at this club over two spells and it couldn’t have gone any better.
“It would be nice to stay at Blackpool. It is a special place for me and I get emotional just speaking about it.
“But I don’t know if he (Karl Oyston) is going to offer me anything and, if he does, what it will be.
“Hopefully I will be staying, but until I have spoken to the chairman and find out what he has in mind, I genuinely don’t know what will happen.”
The Seasiders released and retained list contained few surprises.
Matt Hill, Daniel Bogdanovic and Stephen Husband have been allowed to leave.
Options for a further year have been activated on the contracts of Kevin Phillips, Keith Southern, Neal Eardley, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Ludovic Sylvestre and Alex Baptiste, as well as Mark Halstead, Ashley Eastham, Liam Tomsett, Tom Barkhuizen, Adam Dodd and Chris Kettings.
Matt Gilks, Paul Bignot, Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Gerardo Bruna, Barry Ferguson, Chris Basham, Craig Cathcart, Matt Phillips, Craig Sutherland, Angel Martinez, Bob Harris and Tom Ince are already under contract for next season.
Young striker Louis Almond will sign a new deal later this week.
John Fleck (Rangers), Nouha Dicko (Wigan), Danny Wilson (Liverpool) and Stephen Dobbie (Swansea) have returned to their parent clubs.
Pool will remain in contact with Swansea throughout the summer in a bid to sign Dobbie in a £500,000 deal. They might also try to bring Dicko back – boss Ian Holloway rates him.
Youth team scholars Curtis Thompson, Jamie Menagh, Alex Addai and Matthew Challoner, a right-back named youth team player of the year at Monday’s awards night, have all been offered professional contracts.