BRETT Ormerod paid tribute to Blackpool’s “brilliant” supporters after an emotional exit from Bloomfield Road.
The 35-year-old striker has joined Conference side Wrexham on a two-year deal after failing to agree terms on a contract extension at Pool.
And Ormerod, who made history at Bloomfield Road by scoring for the club in all four divisions, told The Gazette it was a sad day.
He said: “It’s always sad to leave a club but even more so to leave Blackpool. Of all the clubs I’ve been at, Blackpool is the one that means most to me.
“I’ve had my best times in football as a player at Blackpool. It’s very emotional and is just starting to sink in that I’ve left.
“The fans have been brilliant with me, I’ve still got a hell of a lot of friends there and I’ll always look out for their results.”
Ormerod cost only £50,000 when he signed from Accrington Stanley in 1997 before moving on to Southampton four years later for a then club record £1.75m fee.
He rejoined Blackpool in 2009 and scored the Wembley winner in the play-off final against Cardiff the following year to send Blackpool into the Premier League.
He added: “I said when I came back that if my second spell was half as good as my first I’d be a happy man. Well, it ended up being unbelievable for me. I’m very disappointed, sad and sorry to be leaving.”
Ormerod had hoped to stay at Bloomfield Road for another year after Ian Holloway offered him a player-coach role.
However, talks with chairman Karl Oyston broke down amid reports the striker was offered a basic salary of £15,000.
Ormerod revealed: “I spoke with the manager about being a back-up player and doing coaching at the same time, and I was very keen on that. But I spoke to the chairman and he didn’t offer me very good terms.
“Wrexham impressed me. They are an ambitious club.
“I still feel I’ve got a lot to offer playing, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve not got my (coaching) badges yet, but I’m going to try to do them and maybe go into coaching when I retire.
“I may well be back at Bloomfield Road one day as a coach – you can never say never in football.”
One striker who has successfully made the move into coaching is Ormerod’s new boss at the Racecourse Andy Morrell, another former Seasider who left five months before Ormerod’s return.
Morrell said: “Brett has been offered one-year deals at League One clubs. I saw him play in the 4-3-3 with Blackpool numerous times in the last couple of years.
“He is a fit lad who looks after himself and I believe he will add something to us. He adds a bit of experience and will get us some goals.
“I think he can help the lads we have got here and he has had promotions galore in the past few years.”
Morrell hopes Ormerod will help Wrexham regain a Football League berth after pushing Fleetwood Town all the way for the Conference crown last season. A member of the Pool side which won promotion to the Championship in 2007, Morrell added: “Brett has played in all four divisions of the Football League and last year was scoring in the Championship.
“He wants to enjoy his football and be involved in a winning team. A winning mentality is key to what we are looking to bring in and he fits the bill. He has been there for done it, and I am thoroughly looking forward to working with him.”
Ormerod summed up: “It’s a sad day for me to leave Blackpool, but I’m looking forward to the next two years and to getting Wrexham back in the League.”