In his new autobiography, ‘The Keeper,’ Tim Howard claims fellow US netminder Brad Friedel “actively tried to block” his move from the New York MetroStars to Manchester United.
“Man U told us that Friedel had refused to submit a statement on my behalf,” Howard writes about his move to England in 2003. Friedel, who played for Blackburn Rovers at the time of the transfer, not refused to sign an endorsement of Howard.
“‘You’re kidding me,’ I said. Friedel was among what was then a handful of American players in the Premier League; his influence was huge. Having himself been denied several times, he understood better than anyone exactly what was at stake. Why wouldn’t he vouch for me?
“I mean, who would sabotage his own countryman like that?”
But apparently Friedel went so far as to actively block Howard’s move to Old Trafford. United’s legal team later told Howard of Friedel’s efforts. “[He] hadn’t merely refused to sign a statement on my behalf, he had actively tried to block my transfer. He’d written to the appeals committee suggesting that I shouldn’t be given a work permit at all.”
Friedel has since denied the accusations, telling ESPN they are “complete garbage” and offering a different side of the story:
“So I got a call from Bruce Arena. He said, ‘Brad, would you sign this letter on behalf of Tim Howard?’ I said sure,” Friedel said. “It was sent to me, and the only thing that was true on it was my name. The letter was full of exaggerations that the people on the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association] and appeals committee would have seen through.
“Yes, I refused to sign that. We got the letter and said ‘We have to change this, because this isn’t true.’ We made our changes and sent it back. They didn’t like what I was going to sign, so they didn’t use it. And that was the end of the matter. There were a lot of rumors going around that I signed or got a petition together — some nonsense like that — against Tim Howard after he got granted his work permit.”
Friedel went on to say he’d like an apology from Howard.