‘I wasn’t ready to hang my boots up yet’ - New Padiham striker Ormerod

Steve Wilkes welcomes new striker Brett Ormerod to the Arbories
Steve Wilkes welcomes new striker Brett Ormerod to the Arbories

Four years ago Brett Ormerod had featured in a Premier League derby for Blackpool against Blackburn Rovers at Bloomfield Road.

Now he’s hoping to spark Padiham’s resurgence in the Evo-Stik First Division North ahead of his Storks debut against Burscough at the Arbories, kick-off at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

There’s no or graces where Ormerod is concerned. This is simply a refreshingly humble tale about a 37-year-old striker who is determined to prolong his career at any level of the game.

Ormerod, who made 21 appearances for Ian Holloway’s Tangerines throughout the 2010/11 term, was a free agent after leaving Conference outfit Wrexham by mutual consent in April.

He returned to where it all began with Accrington Stanley, but exited the Crown Ground following manager James Beattie’s departure.

“I’d been training at Accrington Stanley for a couple of months but after James Beattie left circumstances changed,” he said. “I wasn’t ready to hang my boots up yet. I still want to play.

“I’d trained with Padiham in the summer and Steve (Wilkes) had always kept in contact with me. He’s a top man. I’d spoken to him before when I was a guest of honour for Preston’s play-off match versus Rotherham last season.

“My mate, Barry Shuttleworth, who I was with at Blackpool, was also at Padiham a few years ago. I played at the Arbories as a kid in my Sunday League days as well.”

Ormerod added: “I’m nearly 38 but I still want to play and I’m delighted to have this opportunity. It’s not a nice feeling when you start reaching the end of your career. It feels a bit weird because I still feel 22 in my head.

“I’m still quite fit, I still enjoy playing, so I’m not ready to retire just yet. I want to play as long as I can. I’ve been playing football for as long as I can remember, it’s been a massive part of my life, so to stop now would hurt. Joining Padiham felt like a no-brainer.”

Ormerod’s first major honour arrived back in the 2000/01 during his first spell at Blackpool when he scored in the 88th minute in a 4-2 Football League Division Three play-off final triumph over Leyton Orient at the Millennium Stadium. That was his 27th goal of the campaign.

The prolific frontman returned to the venue in Cardiff two years later as an FA Cup finalist with Southampton though the Saints lost the tie to a Robert Pires strike against Arsenal.

In the 2007/08 term he was a League One runner-up with Nottingham Forest while in 2009/10 he scored the winning goal for Blackpool in a 3-2 triumph over Cardiff City in a play-ff final at Wembley as the Tangerines were promoted to the Premier League for the first time.

Ormerod, who scored his only league goal that term in a 3-1 win against Spurs, said: “It’s always nice to look back. I’ve won a few important games in my career but I’ve also been involved in some big defeats. The FA Cup final is certainly a highlight even though we didn’t win it.

“I also have very fond memories of the play-off final in 2010 when Blackpool got in to the Premier League for the first time. That was in my second spell at the club and if somebody would’ve told me in my first spell that something like that was going to happen I would’ve never believed them.

“I scored the winner that day as well and that was the most important goal I ever scored. It was an unbelievable day and one I’ll always remember.”

He added: “I’m going to Padiham with an open mind. I want to enjoy my football first and foremost, but I want to help them improve to push them up the table. I’ll be doing my best to achieve that. It would be nice to bring some goals with that as well.”