Brett Ormerod has apologised to fans after his testimonial match was moved back four weeks – but the legendary Blackpool striker says it is the “sensible choice” because hosts AFC Fylde are still awaiting a stadium safety certificate.
The match was also planned to serve as the official opening of Fylde’s new Mill Farm stadium on July 31 but this celebration of Ormerod’s outstanding career has now been rearranged for Sunday, August 28.
The state of unrest between Blackpool FC and many of its supporters prompted Ormerod to decide it would be inappropriate to stage the match at Bloomfield Road.
The 39-year-old said delaying the match by a month is “common sense”.
Fylde would need to have their safety certificate in place by July 18 in order to stage an event on the 31st.
Match organisers Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, AFC Fylde and Ormerod agreed to move the match now rather than risk having to call it off at the last minute.
Ormerod confirmed that all tickets already purchased will be valid for the new date, while anyone now unable to attend will be fully refunded.
He told The Gazette: “They are trying to get the stadium finished and the reason the game has been moved is because of the safety certificate.
“We agreed that it would be better for all concerned to move it back a month.
“If we leave it a month there will be more seats and more facilities around the stadium. It was the sensible choice, rather than risking having to cancel it.
“They have tried every possibility but it is just one of those things. As soon as I got out of the meeting (on Tuesday) I was on the phone to the players involved.
“I’m just waiting to hear back from one or two players, but everything seems to be OK (for the new date) and I’m really looking forward to it. I can only apologise for any inconvenience.”
Fylde are optimistic the safety certificate issue will not impact on the start of their National League North season.
Fixtures are released next Wednesday, with the opening matches on August 6. If Fylde are not at home on that date, they would probably face a home fixture on Tuesday 9.
A Fylde spokesman said: “We applied for the safety certificate in good time, but it only came to light this week that we would need the completed certificate two weeks before the match.
“At least we will now have the opportunity to test the stadium out before Brett’s testimonial, and holding it on a bank holiday weekend could have advantages.”
A club statement added: “Rescheduling the match removes any safety concerns and any risk of a late postponement.
“We are also now hopeful of offering additional standing tickets in the North Stand for a match that is already heading towards a sell-out. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the date change.”
The club can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01772 682593.