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CCF Rebooted 34: Brett Ormerod
CCF Rebooted 34: Brett Ormerod
Monday, 4th Jul 2022 09:51 by AtThePeake

Brett Ormerod was another signing made by Chris Beech in January 2012 as he looked to revive Dale's season.

Position: Striker

Arrived from: Blackpool (loan)

Left for: Blackpool (end of loan)

Played : 2012

Appearances : 5

Goals : 1

An infinitely likeable player throughout his career, Dale fans weren't treated to the best version of Brett Ormerod in 2011/2012 as his career starting to wind down following years of success at high levels.

The Blackburn-born striker started his career as an apprentice with his hometown club, but joined then non-league outfit Accrington Stanley in 1995 when he was released by Rovers aged 19.

While working at the Hall and Letts textile factory in Hyndburn, Ormerod racked up 32 goals in 54 appearances for Stanley, prompting Division Two outfit Blackpool to part with £50,000 for his services in March of 1997 and over the following four years, the striker would win the hearts and minds of the Bloomfield Road faithful with his hard-working displays spearheading the Tangerines attack.

After breaking his leg in October 1999, Ormerod was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Seasiders were relegated to the Third Division, but he would return with a bang the following season, scoring 27 goals in all competitions (including one in a vital home victory over Rochdale in the race for a play-off spot) and eventually finding the net at the Millenium Stadium as Blackpool won promotion by beating Leyton Orient in the play-off final.

The step-up back to Division Two didn't phase Ormerod and after another 13 goals in 21 appearances, he was signed by Premier League club Southampton for a fee of £1.75m, where boss Gordon Strachan had been a long-time admirer.

That was a step-up that proved tough for the striker though and he found the net just once in 17 outings for the Saints in the remainder of the season, with that goal coming in an away win at Ipswich. Although still proving to be a threat for the Saints, Ormerod's goals came in fits and starts at Southampton, but he did memorably produce a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Watford in the semi-final of the 2002/2003 FA Cup - later appearing in the final as his side fell to a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

After managerial changes saw Ormerod out in the cold at St Mary's, he would spend time out on loan at Leeds (6 appearances, 0 goals) and Wigan (6 appearances, 2 goals) before finally leaving the Hampshire club in 2006 to return to his native North West although in a move that would alienate some of his previous fans, his destination would be Preston North End.

The former Blackpool man wasted no time winning over the Deepdale crowd though, scoring on his debut in a home win over Crystal Palace. Unfortunately however, another broken leg (sustained in a play-off semi-final defeat to Leeds), followed by further injuries, prevented him from ever truly finding his rhythm with the Lilywhites.

In three years at Preston he scored 13 times in 62 appearances and spent short stints out on loan at Nottingham Forest (13 appearances, 2 goals) and Oldham (5 appearances, 0 goals) with yet another injury cutting his spell at Boundary Park short.

A return to Blackpool was on the cards in January 2009 after having his Preston contract cancelled and he scored his 100th league goal with his first back at Blackpool against Norwich City later that season. The following year proved particularly memorable as the Seadisers won an unlikely promotion to the Premier League, Ormerod again scoring in a play-off final for the club but this time his 45th minute strike taking the club into the promised land.

He became the first Blackpool player to appear in all four divisions by playing in the opening day win at Wigan and he was on the scoresheet once that season in a famous 3-1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur, but after relegation back to the Championship, Ormerod was effectively frozen out by Ian Holloway, his ageing legs not as effective as they once were in the second tier.

As such, it was a loan spell at Rochdale that he turned to in order to try and rejuvenate his career and perhaps garner some interest for when his Blackpool contract expired and he was a recognisable figure with the same skinny build, gaunt face and rolled down socks that had been featuring in the Premier League just one year previous.

Indeed, with Blackpool-born Chris Beech in temporary charge, the striker would've been no stranger to the interim manager and so the move seemed to make some sense, particularly with his Tangerines team-mate Daniel Bogdanovic also on loan at Spotland at the time.

However, Ormerod was clearly past his best and struggled to beat players with pace or skill like he had been able to in previous years. He did rifle in a terrific half-volley in one home fixture against Stevenage, but it turned out to be nothing more than a consolation goal in a 1-5 defeat.

Though still sporting his trademark rolled down socks and tangled mess of hair, the version of Ormerod that we saw at Dale was certainly not the player that had been of Premier League quality. He couldn't be faulted for effort, but the aspects of his game that had made him such a goal threat earlier in his career were by this point on the wane.

He dropped into non-league at the end of the season, but did feature regularly over the following two seasons for Wrexham, scoring 12 times in 74 appearances. After one game for Northern Premier League side Padiham, Ormerod finished his playing career with a prolific spell of 12 goals in just 25 games for Bamber Bridge in the 2015/2016 season.

Having previously coached with Bamber Bridge (twice) and Fylde, Ormerod now does commentary work for BBC Radio Lancashire as well as appearing for Darwen FC's 'legends' team alongside another former Dale player in the shape of right-back Gary Brown.

Photo: Action Images

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