Brad Friedel has the distinction of being the oldest player in Villa’s history.
The American goalkeeper eclipsed Mush Callaghan’s record when he played at Manchester United in February 2011 at the age of 39 years and 259 days – and he was four days past his 40th birthday when he made the last of his 131 appearances for the club against Liverpool on the final day of that season.
Friedel joined Villa in the summer of 2008, having previously played for Turkish club Galatasaray, Americans Columbus Crew, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.
After eight years and more than 300 appearances for the Ewood Park club, it was something of a surprise when, at the age of 37, the former USA international was tempted to Villa Park by manager Martin O’Neill.
But he insisted he was looking for a new challenge – and certainly did not disappoint the claret and blue faithful, who were delighted to have a permanent keeper following Scott Carson’s season-long loan from Liverpool in 2007/08.
Friedel’s vast experience gave enormous confidence to the defenders in front of him and he was an ever-present in the Barclays Premier League for two consecutive seasons, standing down only for certain cup-ties, when his fellow American Brad Guzan deputised.
In November 2008, Friedel played his 167th consecutive Premier League match, breaking a record previously held by former Villa goalkeeper David James – and by the end of the 2009/10 season he had extended the sequence to 228, most of them for Blackburn.
A member of USA’s 1994 World Cup finals squad, Friedel also played for his country against England at the Wembley Stadium that year, and he returned to the new Wembley for the Carling Cup final and an FA Cup semi-final in 2010.
By the time he left Villa to join Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2011, Friedel had made a record 266 consecutive Premier League appearances, a figure he extended to 310 during his time at White Hart Lane.