Harry Pell recalls 'car crash' of failed move to Blackpool in 2017 under 'unprofessional' Oyston ownership

Harry Pell has opened up about his failed move to Blackpool in 2017.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 9:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 9:46 am
Pell, left, was due to sign for Blackpool in August 2017

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The midfielder, who now plys his trade with Colchester United, was due to sign for the Seasiders from Cheltenham in August of that year.

Pool had a six-figure bid accepted for the 28-year-old and a deal had been agreed in principle, with Pell even arriving at Bloomfield Road to complete his move.

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However the move broke down at the 11th hour when Karl Oyston, who was chairman at the time, went back on an agreement and attempted to lower his wage.

"It was a complete car crash," Pell told the D3D4 Football Podcast.

"The reason I got on with Gary Johnson so well (at Cheltenham) is because he was so honest with me.

"I can remember Blackpool coming in with numerous bids - I think it was about 12 bids in the end before it got accepted.

"With the relationship I had with Gary, I remember knocking on his door and telling him I needed to test myself at the next level.

"I didn't want to leave, but I felt I had to for the best of my career. I think Cheltenham fans would have understood that.

"It did get a bit comfortable (at Cheltenham), so I knew I needed to test myself at that next level - I felt it was the right time.

"I was pestering the gaffer and the bid finally got accepted.

"But I will never forget the night when Aaron Downes was around my house and we were playing monopoly with our two girlfriends and I got a phonecall from my agent.

"He told me if this is going to happen I have to travel up to Blackpool with him tonight. I told him I'd just had dinner and I was playing monopoly!

"The missus wasn't best pleased about me going to Blackpool anyway because we had bought a really nice house and we liked the area.

"But off I went in the middle of the night travelling up to Blackpool, meeting my agent somewhere on the way on the motorway and arriving at about 2 or 3am. I left my missus crying because she was really upset.

"I got to Blackpool and they've got a hotel on their stadium, so they put up me and my agent in two separate rooms.

"The next day I had breakfast overlooking the stadium and it looked fantastic, so I was really excited.

"I had breakfast sat with the players in the morning then I had my medical, which took five and a half hours.

"I had MRI scans on my knees and my hips and I thought to myself 'this is a thorough job, this must be a proper club'.

"But before I went for my medical, the person doing the paperwork said we're not going to sign now, we'll do it in the afternoon so the chairman - who was (Karl) Oyston at the time - could come down.

"After the medical was done I got back to the side of the pitch, where my agent was with his head on his hands.

"I was baffled, I didn't know what was going on despite agreeing the deal the night before going down to Blackpool. That was the whole point.

"The chairman was never going to show up though, but he changed the deal on the way down there. He cut my deal.

"It doesn't matter if you're signing for £100 a week or £100,000 a week, it's the principle. You have a deal in place and that's what I'm coming to sign.

"I felt sorry for Gary Bowyer and I completely understand why he ended up away from Blackpool with the Oystons being there.

"It was probably the worst scenario and most unprofessional situation of my whole career.

"Once they started playing a few games I knew I didn't have to do this. I loved Cheltenham so I knew I didn't have to leave, I was only leaving because I wanted to further my career.

"But I got in my car and drove home. I had the right hump and I was fuming.

"I rung Gary Johnson on the way back and I told him Blackpool were playing games so I wasn't doing it. He replied 'you're joking? I've put a bid in for a striker!'

"But he welcomed me back and it was brilliant in the end and I carried on like nothing had ever happened. But it was a bit of a shambles.

"I did want to say on record that Gary Bowyer dealt with the situation fantastically and the fans have gone back to Blackpool now, which is a great story.