Yesterday it was confirmed that Brad Friedel had left Rovers to join Aston Villa. A great move from a business perspective as we get £2.5 million for a 37 year old, however I just can't shake this lump in my throat now that it has been confirmed.
When Brad signed on a free transfer from Liverpool in March 2000 I don't think I was the only one who had their doubts. Brad hadn't exactly covered himself in glory at 'Pool. But over the next eight years he went on to prove his ability and in my opinion become the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. He didn't just show flashes of brilliance he was great week in week out for Blackburn defying physics on occasions.
It wasn't just his skill that endeared him to the Rovers faithful but his dedication to the club. When we weren't qualifying for Europe regularly he stuck with us when he easily could have moved on, never talked to the press trying to engineer a move and even when the time came for him to move on he showed the same level of professionalism as ever, he let the club announce it instead of doing an interview to the press.
We all have our favourite memories of Brad. For example his Man of the match performance in the League Cup final against Spurs or his goal against Charlton at The Valley (even though we still lost) or his double penalty saves or his numerous amazing performances against United, they won't be taking Villa for six points a season anymore. I could go on here as there really is a huge list of heroics in the File marked Brad Friedel a nickname has never been more apt than that of the one he earned at the 2002 world cup 'The Human Wall' he was dubbed by many and who could disagree?
I know this reads like an obituary but it's a sad day for Rovers. All that's left to be said is thank you Brad for all the memories and for being a shining light in the face for all that is wrong in the modern game. I think you are the only Rover to leave with my true best wishes, I just hope the Villa faithful appreciate you as much as we have.
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