By Chris Wright
As if to provide the fitting end to an annus horribilis of nightmarish proportions, Blackpool have been forced to void Andrea Orlandi’s contract after accidentally triggering the midfielder’s release clause without realising it.
Having started the season with a minuscule squad made up of trialists and youth teamers and ended it being relegated from the Championship amid vitriolic on-pitch fan protests, Blackpool now face a legal battle to keep hold of Orlandi, with the 30-year-old ex-Barcelona (one senior appearance in 2006 and don’t you forget it!) player now poised to waltz away for nothing.
According to the Blackpool Gazzette, the Tangerines announced a month ago that the extension option in Orlandi’s contract had been activated, meaning he would remain at Bloomfield Road next season.
However, it also turns out that Orlandi’s deal contained a release clause that, due to a ridiculous administrative error, the woebegone club have since triggered by mistake.
Here are the salient details, via the Gazette:
It appears the player was entitled to leave if Pool were relegated and he had played 23 full games, or 2070 minutes.
Former manager Lee Clark left Orlandi on the bench for the trip to Cardiff and dropped him altogether for the abandoned final game against Huddersfield, believing he was just under the 2070-minute limit.
The only issue being that Blackpool had been calculating Orlandi’s playing time on the assumption that a “full game” counted as 90 minutes.
It has since come to light that added time/injury time should have been factored into the equation too, meaning that Orlandi surpassed the 2070-minute limit well before Clark decided to begin benching him.
In other news, it would appear that Blackpool have decided to offer an automatic one-year contract extension to Nile Ranger despite the AWOL striker not making a single first-team appearance in the last six months.
Ranger returned to London for “family reasons” in November and was subsequently fined for not returning to Bloomfield Road as instructed.
Overcome with disbelief, Ranger uploaded a photo of the official club letter explaining his extension on Instagram yesterday, adding a comment that simply read: “REALLY!?!”
It never rains…