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The Loss Of A Legend


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Brad Friedel - Voted Rovers Greatest Keeper.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of Rovers fans saw Brad Friedel as a superfluous signing when he joined, Brad has managed to become a Rovers legend winning over both the crowd and pundits. This is no mean feat considering the shadow cast by former championship winning keeper Tim Flowers, and the former player of the year John Filan.

With two quality keepers, including Filan, at the club many were wondering what Brad could bring to the team. The first things Brad gave Rovers were consistency and dependability. At the beginning of the promotion season rovers were having no problem scoring but were letting in goals with alarming regularity. Brad slotted in immediately and proved to be the final piece of the defensive jigsaw. Whilst Matt Jansen and David Dunn and the like got most of the credit, Rovers tight defence including Brad played no small part in grinding out the wins and our promotion success.

Friedel carried this consistency into the premiership, rarely if ever making a mistake and never looking out of his depth. Even Flowers would struggle to match Brad in terms of continual reliability. No howlers, few fumbles, and within his first full season Brad had firmly established a well earned reputation amongst the fans for always being on top of his game. It was during this season that Brad showed that he could impersonate superman, pulling off some fantastic saves, especially during the Worthington Cup Final. Brad was deservedly man of the match as Rovers lifted the Worthington Cup. Granted it was a team effort which won it for Rovers, but Brad did that little bit more than everyone else; from an early one on one with Ferdinand to the near point blank header late on Friedel was supurb. Cole's goal might have been the decider but it was Friedel's saves that won Blackburn the cup.

Just like it seemed impossible that Shearer in his hayday bearing down on goal would miss, it seemed impossible that Brad would not save. Time after time Brad demonstrated astounding reflexes which must have added 20 points onto Rovers tally for the season. Once again Friedel proved the difference in Rovers securing European football for the second season running. Recognition came from outside the club being named in the players premiership team of the year, and Arsene Wenger's desire for Brad to replace the departing Arsenal legend Seaman.

Like other Rovers greats Brad also performed well on an international level during his time at Rovers. To play at three world cups shows Brad's international credentials, Arguably his best World Cup came during his time with Rovers again showing his class with some fine performances and several penalty saves.

Since then Friedel has reproduced this near legendary form, but then he has had the challenge of Rovers defence to contend with. And despite this Brad has still remained one of the most consistent performers at the club. His desire and determination for the club to succeed are epitomised by his goal against Charlton, a truely classic Rovers moment.

Like Duff and Shearer before in Brad we have witnessed the best player in the premiership in that position whilst wearing a Rovers shirt, and saw a display of talent which few players possess.

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