Brett Ormerod admits he’s ‘overwhelmed’ by the response of fans after he announced his retirement this afternoon.
The Blackpool legend called time on his incredible career which during which he became the only player in history to score in all four divisions for the Seasiders.
During two spells and 250 games at Bloomfield Road, Ormerod wrote himself into club folklore by firing the winner in the 2010 play-off final to promote Pool to the Premier League.
Now 39, he’s finally called time on his career, leading to an incredible reponse from fans on social media, something the striker didn’t expect.
“I’m really emotional,” admitted Ormerod.
“I made the decision last week and decided to announce it earlier today, the response was totally overwhelming.
“Sitting at reading all the messages brought so many good memories back, too be honest I was almost in tears.
“It was a tough decision, but I think it’s the right time.
“I’d been playing for Bamber Bridge and had a calf injury and have been waking up after games feeling like someone has beaten me up.
“With all the pitches being heavy after the bad weather we’ve had I decided to call it a day.
“In my head I’m still a 21-year-old striker and want to run around like one, but in reality I was more like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz.
“It’s the right decision.”
Ormerod was handed his big break in football in March of 1997 when Blackpool paid £50,000 to then non-league side Accrington Stanley for his services.
At the time he was playing part time while working for Hall and Letts textile factory in Great Harwood where he claimed to have earned £130 a week.
And the day he turned professional still sticks in his head.
He reminised: “I remember signing for Blackpool like it was yesterday.
“The Accrington chairman Eric Whalley, god rest his soul, pulled me after training and said they’d agreed a deal with Blackpool.
“The first thing I said to him was I’d have to book a day off work to go and talk to them!
“I worked in a textiles factory at the time and had a five-day notice period if I wanted to leave.
“Blackpool’s manager at the time had to ring my boss at work to get me out, I remember my boss being over the moon to get a call from Gary Megson!”
Ormerod made the first of his 250 Blackpool appearances as an 82nd-minute substitute in a 0–0 draw with Chesterfield although he had to wait for the following season for his first Pool goal.
That came in a 1–1 draw with Carlisle United on 26 December 1997 at Brunton Park.
After helping the club to promotion with 27 goals in 2001, Ormerod got his big move to Premier League side Southampton for £1.75m the following December.
Ormerod was a hit for the Saints, scoring one and setting up another in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final before losing out 1-0 to Arsenal in the final.
A number of moves followed before the chance to return to Blackpool came in January of 2009 when his career looked to have stalled at Preston North End.
And he told The Gazette it was almost a return which never happened.
“I almost didn’t come back the second time as I didn’t want to ruin what I’d achieved at Blackpool,” he admitted.
“I remember when I signed I said in The Gazette if I had half as much success as my first spell I’d be a happy man.
“In the end it was five times as good, it was just amazing.
“What we achieved at Blackpool by getting into the Premier League really hasn’t sunk in yet.
“I always said it would take years for us all to realise just what we achieved, I’d probably say it still hasn’t now.
“There were so many memorable moments in a Blackpool shirt - obviously the Wembley winner stands out.
“The best moments for me were the two play-off final wins.
“The first one was incredible as I’d broken my leg badly and came back to win promotion, and the second one was just incredible.”
Looking back on his career, Ormerod has plenty of special moments to reflect on, but it’s his spells at Bloomfield Road which he holds the dearest.
He said:”Everyone has that one club which is special to them and for me it’s Blackpool.
“As for best moments, well it has to be the Wembley final.
“As a kid when you play in the park all you dream about is playing at Wembley.
“I thought I’d missed out on the chance, with Blackpool play-off finals and my FA Cup final with Cardiff both being at the Millenium Stadium.
“So to play at Wembley, score the winner and send Blackpool to the Premier League, well it was just a dream.
“It really doesn’t get any better than that, does it.
“My wife actually bought my a brick from my sons which says “My dad scored the winner here in 2010” which is outside of Wembley Stadium, so that’s a nice memory.
“I have been so lucky to play for some incredible clubs.
“I did well really to play for the likes of Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Wigan, Preston, Southampton, all great clubs which huge traditions.
“Even in non-league I loved my time with Accrington and right at the end with Bamber Bridge.”
When Ormerod eventually left Blackpool in 2012, he joined Rochdale before dropping to non-league and enjoying two play-off finals with Wrexham.
You wouldn’t expect someone who enjoyed the sort of success Ormerod has to have many regrets in the game, but there were one or two.
“I really don’t have many regrets, although there was a moment in the FA Cup final with Southampton which kills me.
“I hit a left-footed effort, probably the best left foot strike I’ve hit in my life, and David Seaman somehow saved it.
“I also missed a big chance in the play-off final for Wrexham at Wembley which we lost.
“Apart from those I have no regrets at all really.
“In the whole I’ll look back at my career as very special indeed.
“I can safely say I gave my all in every single game I ever played.
“Sometimes had stinkers and didn’t play very well but I always ran my socks off and I think that went a long way.
“One day I’ll look back at my career and probably think I did well.
“I can’t complain really.”
Thanks for the memories Brett.