Darren O’Dea has hit Blackpool FC with a stinging parting shot, claiming pub teams are run better.
The 28-year-old defender was among the first players to confirm his exit from Bloomfield Road at the end of the season, having not been offered a new deal by then manager Lee Clark.
Republic of Ireland international O’Dea warned that Pool could face the drop again unless drastic action was taken.
And he sympathises with the fans who made their anger clear on the final day of their doomed campaign with a pitch invasion which brought the game against Huddersfield to a premature halt .
The outspoken O’Dea said: “I knew what I was going into. I knew it was going to be a shambles.
“You could go to a pub team and it would be better run than Blackpool.
“The people around the club, the manager, were fantastic. I felt bad for the supporters.”
Blackpool currently have no manager and only seven senior players following their relegation to League One: Tom Aldred, Henry Cameron, Charles Dunne, David Ferguson, Luke Higham, Connor Oliver and Jarrett Rivers. Dunne played in almost half of Pool’s matches last season but the rest have little experience at this level.
Jose Cubero, Andrea Orlandi and Nile Ranger have had options to extend their contracts taken up, though major question marks hang over the Bloomfield Road future of all three.
The club is also facing a three-pronged probe from the Football League, FA and Police over the abandoned Huddersfield fixture, while chairman Karl Oyston faces five FA misconduct charges over abusive text messages sent to a supporter five months ago.
O’Dea, who made 20 appearances after joining Pool in December, has been linked with a number of English clubs, including Bolton Wanderers, but it is understood he could be tempted back to North America, where his former MLS club Toronto FC have been tracking his progress.
Another departed Pool player in demand is Tony McMahon.
The former club captain ended the season on loan at League One Bradford City, whose manager Phil Parkinson is interested in signing the 29-year-old defender on a permanent basis.
Chairman Oyston, who has not spoken publicly since Christmas, has maintained his silence in the quest to appoint a successor to Clark.
West Ham’s assistant manager Neil McDonald, who faces an uncertain future following Sam Allardyce’s departure, is still favourite the bookies’ favourite for the Pool job, as reported in yesterday’s Gazette .
However, odds have shortened on former Preston North End and Stevenage boss Graham Westley taking the Bloomfield Road helm.
Westley will leave Stevenage when his contact expires this week, with Teddy Sherringham set to replace him in the hotseat at Broadhall Way.