Jamie O’Hara has called on Blackpool FC to rebuild from top to bottom after relegation from the Championship.
The 28-year-old made a huge impact after joining the club in November, picking up the fans’ player of the year award despite missing close to half of the season.
O’Hara and striker Gary Madine have been offered new deals at Bloomfield Road by manager Lee Clark, but the midfielder wants time to think after a season unlike any he’s experienced before.
And he called on Pool to sort out the basics ahead of next season.
O’Hara said: “The way to build a club is from the inside and to build outwards.
“Things like staff and kitmen are a massive part of the club.
“If you want to be successful, you have to get those things right.
“A lot of the things which happened this season at Blackpool I’ve never experienced before, like the 7-2 defeat at Watford and the last game of the season, which was abandoned.
“Thre were things like having my boots in the back of my car and washing our own kit after the kitman left halfway through the season.
“We were washing it ourselves. We just got on with it, to be honest. We knew what we had to do.”
Manager Clark held talks with almost all his players on Sunday to inform them whether he wanted to keep them at the club.
As yet there’s no word on the futures of Peter Clarke, Nathan Delfouneso, Darren O’Dea and David Perkins, though The Gazette confirmed yesterday that Tom Barkhuizen has left the club.
It’s understood a number of senior names have been released, though Clark is keen to inform them all face to face before any public announcements are made.
Clark has moved to offer deals to Madine and O’Hara, two players he is keen to build his team around next season.
Pool are much more hopeful of tying the 24-year-old striker down now his contract has expired at Sheffield Wednesday.
O’Hara has been offered a deal which would make him the highest-paid player at Pool next season, though the Seasiders could struggle to keep hold of a player who has attracted the interest of numerous Championship clubs.
The midfielder added: “The lowest point was the last day, having to run off the pitch and basically hide in the changing room.
“We had to sit and wait around for an hour, not knowing what was really going on. That made everything hit home– that this was not really something you want to be part of as a footballer.”
Even receiving the fans’ end-of-season award for his eye-catching displays was done a little differently at Blackpool.
O’Hara explained: “I have had player of the season awards several times but they have been given on the pitch, with fans cheering your name. At Blackpool we had to do it in the press office.
“It wasn’t what I was used to but obviously it was still a great achievement.”