Former Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has claimed that he wanted to sign striker Jamie Vardy for Blackpool during his time at Fleetwood Town.
Vardy joined Leicester City from the Lancashire side – who had just won promotion to the Football League for the first time in their history – in the summer of 2012, when the Foxes were in the Championship with Blackpool.
The striker has since gone on to score 112 goals in 278 appearances in all competitions for Leicester, famously winning the Premier League during the 2015/16 season, although it now appears as though Vardy’s career could have taken a very different path.
Writing in his blog for The Sack Race about players he came close to signing for Blackpool, Holloway revealed: “I also wanted to buy Jamie Vardy but Oyston didn’t think that he was worth that much. When he was at Fleetwood we were in for him, as were Leicester, but they beat us to his signature for £1.6million.”
It seems as though Blackpool could have afforded the deal had they wanted to however, as Holloway claimed: “We had money at that time. It was when we could have sold Charlie Adam for £6m but we didn’t.”
Reflecting on his interest in Vardy, Holloway continued: “Micky Mellon was the manager of Fleetwood then, and he told me that Vardy was going to play for England. So I told Oyston. We played them in the cup and beat them 5-1 and he scored the goal. But the money went to a ridiculous level.”
Discussing the way Vardy’s career – which includes 26 caps and seven goals for England – has gone since then, Holloway has unsurprisingly been impressed with the striker’s success, as he concluded: “To be fair he made a decent choice in the end! He’s been sensational and a lot of that is down to Mellon, who is a fantastic manager.”
Blackpool fans will surely be wondering what might have been here.
They had just missed out on the promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs at that time, so they would certainly have been expected to compete for a place in the top flight again next season.
Given what has happened for Leicester since then, you do have to question slightly just what Blackpool themselves could have done had they won the race for Vardy.
Of course, it wasn’t just Vardy who helped Leicester do what they have done, but you feel Blackpool would certainly have been closer to that than they currently are had they managed to bring him to Bloomfield Road.