EVEN £90M GOAL CAN'T IMPRESS THE KIDS!
GOOD BAD & UGLY: BRETT ORMEROD
BRETT ORMEROD will be a quiz answer for many years after he hangs up his boots. The striker scored in every professional division for Blackpool from Division Three to the Premier League.
He can even boast scoring at every level right down to English football’s eighth tier with the spells in Non-League that bookend his distinguished career.
Now playing for Padiham, Ormerod’s career has come full circle from his first taste of first team football with Accrington Stanley. Combining football with a day job in a textiles factory, Ormerod rose to the top and was part of the Seasiders’ unlikely Premier League adventure.
He even managed to score the goal that got them there…
I’d been at Blackburn reserves but it was at Accrington Stanley where I had proper first team football. I’d been at Blackburn since I was a kid so it was gut-wrenching to leave. But back then they’d just won the Premiership with an international squad so it was hard to get in.
Accy were in the UniBond Prem – the second tier of Non-League at the time – so it was part-time.
I worked at a textiles factory. It did bedding and curtains.We used to cut the material, which would be taken off to the women who did the sewing, and then packed and sent off.
I was 18 but it wasn’t like I went there and thought, ‘I’ve got to get back in the League’. It was the fact I got my confidence back and was enjoying my football. By the time I finished at Blackburn, I’d fractured my shoulder blade and had a double hernia operation. I’d had some bad luck, my confidence was low and Accrington gave me fresh impetus.
It has to be a split between Gordon Strachan and Ian Holloway, for two different reasons. Gordon got us very fit, he was very active and he built a team at Southampton. We went into every little detail. It was very disciplined and very professional.
Ian Holloway put confidence in the lads and the way we played football in my second spell at Blackpool was unbelievable. He was infectious around the club. He lifted everyone. Blackpool became such a good atmosphere – everyone worked hard for each other.
Division Three playoffs with Blackpool in 2001. We beat Leyton Orient at the Millennium Stadium. There had been the big build-up towards the game with lots of interviews and media attention, we stayed in a lovely hotel in Cardiff, there were lots of nerves.
We kicked-off, played it back and our keeper Phil Barnes had a touch, but then he slipped and their lad nipped in to score after 20 seconds. We came back, went behind, came back and they hit the post at 2-2.
We kicked on from there. Paul Simpson scored, I got the other and it turned into a great day. I’d broken my leg the year before and we got relegated. It was a double whammy. A bad break – my tib and fib – and I had to sit in the stands and watch the lads struggle. So to come back from that, me and John Murphy scored 50odd goals that season, and win promotion was a complete turnaround.
This is really hard because at all the clubs I played at we had some really good lads who I really enjoyed being around. I’ve been lucky to be in some great dressing rooms at Blackpool, Preston, Southampton, Wrexham – even when I went on loan at Nottingham Forest and Wigan. Jimmy Bullard was a great lad. Crackers, but he was funny. I remember telling the lads when I went back to Southampton that he was a great lad but crazy. He’s a lad who never seemed to be down or have a bad day.
Mike Newell always used to play pranks on us at Blackpool. Me and John Murphy used to room together. One time he got our room key. We went upstairs and he was like, ‘Oh, sorry lads, I’ve got the wrong room’. He gave us our key back and we thought nowt of it. We jumped on our beds and he’d soaked our beds with water. Another time we were on a preseason tour in St Kitts, in the Caribbean. We’d trained late in the day and we couldn’t get our kit washed, so we hung it out on the balcony for the next day.
It was a hotel where you could jump down onto a flat roof and walk along. We got up the next morning and everyone’s kit was at the bottom of the swimming pool.
We went down for breakfast and only Mike Newell is sat there in his kit saying, ‘What? Why does everyone always think it’s me?’
Getting to the FA Cup final with Southampton in 2003 was unbelievable, although we didn’t win it. But I’d have to say getting to the Premier League with Blackpool in 2010.
We did it on the lowest budget it’s ever been done on, and probably ever will be. We were relegation favourites at the beginning of the season. It was a dream come true. We just all enjoyed our football.
When Ian Holloway came in, he’d been out of football for a year, his last job at Leicester hadn’t gone well, and I think he’d sat on his hands watching teams like Barcelona and decided that’s how he wanted to play.
He got the lads behind him, confident on the ball and we had one or two special players like Charlie Adam. Signing him at the start of the season was a massive plus for us.
He’d done well for us on loan the previous season.We didn’t think he would come back to us and other Championship clubs wanted him – and would have paid him more money. But he enjoyed it so much so he came back. We got DJ Campbell back in the January and everything just clicked. It was the most remarkable season of my life.
I played for the club in every divi-
sion. To go back to the times when you were even thinking the club could even go into Non-League, to be in the Premier League ten years later wasn’t something I ever thought would happen in my wildest dreams.
Winner against Cardiff at Wembley to get Blackpool in the Premier League in 2010. It wasn’t the most spectacular but it was the most important. David Marshall came out at me and I toe-poked it through his legs. I tell everyone I got a £90m goal! I’ve got a DVD of the season which is always nice to watch. I try to show the kids but they’re bored of it.
I can’t remember ever feeling as bad as I did when we lost the Conference play-off final at Wrexham. We played Newport County at Wembley and, in my opinion, we were the better team on the day. But we never scored and Newport hit us with two late goals.
We’d managed to win the FA Trophy at Wembley that season which was brilliant. We carried on grafting and got to the play-off final. I got a chance at 0-0 that came at me quickly and I missed it.We missed a clearance and their lad went through and scored. Then they got us again as we pushed. That was hard to bear. It took me a long time to get over it.
TOUGHEST PLACE TO GO
I’ve played there a lot down the years, for loads of different clubs in different leagues, but I can’t ever recall winning at Luton Town. I remember playing a pre-season friendly there with Southampton.We were 2-0 up and they came back to 2-2. Even in pre-season, I didn’t win!
Rio Ferdinand. I was quite fit and quick when I was playing for Southampton, but he was really quick. I remember once being put clear and he was miles behind me. I was sprinting like mad, turned around and he was right behind me and took the ball away. ‘Wow, where did he come from?’
FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO
For some reason, I always used to like White Hart Lane. Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle – I played in some great stadiums. But I always liked playing at Spurs. The pitch was always fantastic.We had a couple of good wins there with Southampton.
I’m playing part-time with Padiham in the Evo-Stik NPL North. At the end of the season I’ll have a few decisions to make. It is getting harder. Part-time has helped but I’m not as fit as I was and recovering is harder – I feel like the Tin Man out of The
Wizard of Oz the day after. But you’re a long time retired. I haven’t made any decisions at the moment. One week you do well and you think, ‘I could go on for another year here’. The next week you get battered, you’re terrible and you want to retire right then!
Best managers: Ian Holloway & Gordon Strachan
Lowest moment: Losing Conference play-off final
Funniest incident: Mike Newell
Best Goal: Winner for Blackpool against Cardiff at Wembley