Former U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel said that he wants an apology from his ex-national team teammate for comments made in Tim Howard's soon-to-be published book "The Keeper."
The Tottenham backup goalkeeper on Wednesday denied Howard's assertion that he "actively tried to block" Howard's 2003 transfer from MLS to Manchester United.
"It's complete garbage," the 43-year-old told ESPN FC on Wednesday in a phone interview from England. "To be honest with you, all we're looking for is an apology. We can't get the book reprinted. I'm not looking for monetary gain. I just want an apology."
In his autobiography, due out on Tuesday and excerpted exclusively on ESPNFC.com, Howard writes, "The legal team at Manchester United ... told me that Brad 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 said the comments were not true.
"There is no letter," he said. "I never sabotaged, and I never stood in the way of Tim Howard getting a work permit. This is ludicrous."
Friedel said he was asked by then-U.S. coach Bruce Arena to sign a letter of support for Howard to receive a U.K. work permit on appeal, as Howard, who had just nine international appearances at the time, didn't automatically qualify for one.
"I said, 'Sure.' It was sent to me, and the only thing that was true on it was my name," Friedel said. "The letter was full of exaggerations that the people on the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] and appeals committee would have seen through.
"It said that I had been in direct competition with Tim Howard for the starting job on the U.S. national team for the last two years, when anyone who follows [U.S.] soccer knew it was between Kasey [Keller] and I.
"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."
In his book, Howard recounts running into Friedel at a Manchester-area Starbucks after his permit appeal had been approved. Friedel asked if he could meet Howard at his house to explain why he hadn't signed the original letter that Howard's representatives sent him.
"The crux of his presentation was this: if he'd had this much trouble getting a work permit, why should he make it easy for me," Howard writes, saying Friedel told him he refused to sign off as "a matter of principle."
"That whole conversation is backward," Friedel said. "The 'principle' that I was talking about was I couldn't sign the letter based on principle because it was full of lies."
Asked why Howard would include the claims if they weren't accurate, Friedel could only speculate.
"I assume he's been lied to all these years," Friedel said. "Or perhaps he was getting pressure from the publisher to put something controversial in the book."
Friedel supplied ESPN FC with a letter from PFA deputy chief John Bramhall, dated Nov. 26, 2014, in which Bramhall writes, "With regard to the work permit appeal by Manchester United F.C. on behalf of Tim Howard, which took place on 11 July 2003, I can confirm that, as the PFA representative that day, neither I nor the PFA received any correspondence from you prior the appeal hearing."
Friedel said that while he is considering taking the matter to court, he would prefer a more amicable outcome.
"I don't want to litigate against a fellow professional, against a fellow American and a goalkeeper," he said.
"I've seen Tim quite a few times over the last 10 years. Never once has he ever turned his shoulder or not said hello or anything, so to all of a sudden put this crap in a book, that's showing a lot of bravery. I don't get it."