To be inducted in to Rovers’ inaugural Hall of Fame humbled Brad Friedel, who admitted: “to have been thought of by the club and the supporters in this magnitude is really an honour.”

Friedel was one of seven players to be celebrated at the Hall of Fame evening on Thursday, organised by the Blackburn Rovers Former Players Association (BRFPA).

The American spent eight years at Ewood Park, helping them to promotion back to the Premier League in his first season, 2000/01, as well as lifting the Worthington Cup after a man-of-the-match performance against Tottenham in 2002.

From the 1-1 draw with West Brom at Ewood Park on August 14 2004, Friedel would go on to play every game for four seasons, before leaving for Aston Villa, just two league appearances short of Terry Gennoe's club record of 289 for a goalkeeper.

Now 48 and manager of New England Revolution, Friedel was the most recently-retired of the seven players to be inducted.

He said: “It’s a very proud moment. I was very surprised when I got the phonecall. I had a wonderful eight years at the club and the way that John Williams and Tom Finn ran the club was truly remarkable.

“To come in and quickly get promoted, and already have a Premier League squad assembled, we had some really good campaigns. Looking back on the eight years, and when I talk to my family about it, it was a really tremendous time of my life

“I was surprised, happily surprised, and humbled when I got the call about it. I never played the sport for personal accolades, but to be able to have been thought of by the club and the supporters in this magnitude is really an honour.”

Friedel’s New England side had been training in Marbella as part of their pre-season work, making the trip over to England a little easier.

“The timing worked out perfectly. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it, but I think it’s only right if you’re nominated for such awards that you are here in person,” he added.

“I had a tremendous time of not just my career but my lifetime playing at Blackburn. I thought it was a truly impeccably run club at the time I was here and it is just incredibly fond memories of my time.”

Friedel joined from Liverpool in November 2000, making his debut in a 1-0 win over Wolves at Ewood. He made 26 appearances as the club won promotion back to the Premier League, where he quickly established himself as No.1.

“The league cup was a highlight no doubt, winning promotion straight away was a big highlight, the European campaigns, was a highlight, and every time you step out on the field is a highlight,” he said.

“The way the club was run, with Graeme Souness and Mark Hughes, no player could complain about how things were set up here.”

Bob Crompton, Ronnie Clayton, Bryan Douglas, Derek Fazackerley, Simon Garner and Alan Shearer were the other players celebrated on the night. The plan is for more to be added to the Hall of Fame on a yearly basis, and having been at the club for eight years, Friedel already has a number of players in mind who could follow in his footsteps.

“Without a doubt, I played with a lot of tremendous players over the years,” he said.

“Tugay is one that comes to mind, but it's a long list. We were very competitive in the Premier League for many years and on the verge of winning cups, getting to semi-finals, so there will be a long list of players who will join me.”

All but his first season at Rovers were in the top flight, while Rovers also qualified for European competitions. Tony Mowbray is leading the rebuilding process after relegation from the Premier League in 2012 and the Championship in 2017.

Still keeping an eye on how the team is faring, Friedel said: “They have a tremendous manager right now and it was great to see them back up in the Championship and hopefully back in the Premier League some day soon.

“I had eight remarkable years, all but one in the top flight, and this club, if you get things going, has a tremendous fanbase attached to it, which you don’t get in a lot of areas.

“It’s always to get promoted and succeed in any league. I hope the club backs Tony and gives him the time to get all of his ideas implemented in the players and they are always going to need that bit of luck and hopefully they get it.”

Friedel has moved in to management himself, taking on the top job at New England Revolution.

He added: “The last three or four years of my playing career I went away and did my A licence a Pro licence and I had a job with the under-19s of the US national team so I took my time.

“I work for some great owners. Last season was our first year with the team, and we now have a salary cap, so it will take a bit longer to get some players in and others out of the door, but thankfully, I have been backed well and we have some ambitious owners and we’re really looking forward to the season.”