Despite having an FA¿Cup final appearance on his CV, former Accrington Stanley star Brett Ormerod says he is facing the biggest game of his career tomorrow.
Aged 33, the striker hopes to lead the line as Blackpool face Cardiff in the Championship play-off final to get into the money-bags Premiership.
Last season’s Wembley clash for Burnley was hailed as the £60m final but with parachute payments now extended for four years for relegated teams, this is worth a lot lot more.
And Pool’s players are rumoured to be on a £5m bonus for winning promotion - not bad for the lad who worked at a factory while playing part-time for Accrington in 1995.
Ormerod has been well-travelled. After starting off at the club he supported, Blackburn Rovers, he was released and went to Accrington and made 52 league appearances, scoring 32 goals.
He still is a Stanley legend despite making a move to Blackpool in 1997 for £50,000 - welcome money for Accrington - and he scored in their 4-2 play-off final win over Leyton¿Orient at Cardiff in 2001 which took them back into the then Second Division.
Then followed his big move to Premier League side Southampton in 2001, for £1.75m where Stanley got around £200,000 - big cash which helped start the ball rolling and fund the Reds’ climb up the non-league pyramid before reaching the hallowed ground of the Football League.
There came Ormerod’s FA¿Cup final appearance at Cardiff against Arsenal in 2003 which the Saints lost 1-0 to a Robert Pires goal.
There have been a lot of ups and downs in his career with various injuries hampering him at important stages with Preston, Nottingham Forest and Oldham on his list of clubs before he returned “home” to the Seaside in January 2009.
And, for a lad who might have thought the highs were behind him, Ormerod is getting another shot at the big time with Pool.
They were one of the favourites for the drop pre-season but manager Ian Holloway has sprung a surprise by taking them to the last spot in the play-offs - and now Wembley where they aim to get back into the top flight for the first time since the 1970s.
“This is probably the biggest game of my career - it’s certainly the biggest financial game in world football,” said Ormerod.
“I am trying not to think too much about it because if you dwell on it too much you can make yourself nervous.
“There’s not a lot you can do until you kick-off anyway.
“It's still pretty surreal that we managed to get a play-off place to be honest, never mind make it to Wembley.
“But it is brilliant and now we have to go and win at Wembley to make it a real dream season.
“It is the culmination of some really hard work. We were one of the favourites to go down so it is unbelievable but there is great spirit in the camp from the gaffer downwards and the staff.
“We haven’t been a flash in the pan. We’ve tried to play the way the gaffer wants. We’ve always tried to keep a good spirit. Of course you’ll get your low moments but those were the times we pulled together and stayed strong.
“Just to be in the top 10 all season in this league is an unbelievable achievement and to be where we are is full credit to the manager, the staff, the kit man, the tea lady.
“Whoever has come in has done a job, everyone has worked hard, great team spirit and we are all pulling in the same direction. You can achieve great things when you do that and I think at the moment we have.
“Now we are in the play-off final and we will give it our best.”
And you hope it works out for the likeable Ormerod who will never forget his roots.
His dad Glynn lives in Rishton but will remain there while his son plays the biggest game of his life as Ormerod admits his dad is superstitious. “He didn’t come to the Millennium Stadium when we won 4-2 in 2001. But he came to the FA Cup final against Arsenal in 2003, which we lost (with Southampton) so he is staying at home to watch it.”
And the frontman still thinks Accrington was the turning point of his career.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I started at Blackburn Rovers and did my apprenticeship there and got released when they won the Premier League. It was a difficult time in my life.
“I went to Accrington Stanley and it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.
“As a young lad growing up, supporting Blackburn and getting released it can be a hard thing to take sometimes.
“By going to Accrington, who were in non-league football, I just started enjoying football again.
“Through enjoyment I got my confidence back and it went on from there. I think every player’s ambition is to play as high as they can, but I’d be lying if I said, when I went to Accrington, that my biggest goal was to get into the Football League.
“The fact that I was just enjoying my football again was a big thing for me.
“Through that my performances started improving and I started playing like I knew I could.
“The move to Blackpool originally came on the back of that.”
He added: “There aren’t many people left at Accrington now from then. I still see Eric Whalley, but of course he’s not the chairman now.
“The club has still always got that family feel about it and the ground’s improved a lot since I was there.
“It’s still a club very close to my heart and I think what they’ve done over the last couple of seasons, on their budget, has been nothing short of unbelievable.
“I think the manager and the backroom staff, the new chairman and the old one, deserve great credit for getting Accrington back into the Football League.
“Now I want to finish the job off at Blackpool and get them into the Premier League.”