Did you Know?
Friedel was signed to Blackburn Rovers by Graeme Souness on a free transfer in November 2000 after a work permit was secured.Joining during Rovers’ promotion-winning 2000–01 season, Friedel’s consistently-assured performances helped ensure Blackburn’s return to the Premiership and then consolidate their top division status in the following seasons. Friedel’s memorable performances for Blackburn include playing against Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup Final in early 2002, when he was named Man of the Match. In a 1–2 win over Arsenal at Highbury, Friedel made several immense saves and was only beaten by a deflected free kick. A stunning performance away at Southampton prompted Gordon Strachan to liken him to Superman: “Friedel must have got changed in a telephone box. I wouldn’t be surprised if when he takes his shirt off there’s a blue jersey with an ‘S’ on underneath it.” At the end of the 2002–03 season, Friedel’s 15 clean sheets earned him Blackburn’s Player of the Year award, as well as selection to the Premiership Starting XI. On February 21, 2004, in an away game against Charlton Athletic, Friedel scored a goal from open play in the 90th minute, from a corner kick. Friedel’s goal equalized the game at 2–2, but seconds later Charlton scored again through Claus Jensen, and went on to win the match 3–2. He became just the second goalkeeper in Premier League history (excluding own goals) to score, after Peter Schmeichel for Aston Villa in 2001. Friedel extended his contract with Blackburn Rovers on April 14, 2006, stating his love for the club as a reason. Two years later, on February 5, 2008, he again signed an extension to his Rovers contract, stating that, “I am delighted to have extended the agreement. It was not a difficult decision to make. Blackburn Rovers is home to me. This is my club and I have a special affinity with it.” He would, however, leave the club at the end of that season to join Aston Villa, just two league appearances short of Terry Gennoe’s club record of 289 for a goalkeeper.