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Peter Schmeichel
"I just had a good feeling when I came to Villa Park"
 real 14k

Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Villa clinch Schmeichel deal
Peter Schmeichel
Schmeichel has signed a one-year deal at Villa
Aston Villa have signed former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.

The Dane has agreed a one-year deal at Villa Park, with an option to extend it by another year.

Schmeichel's contract with Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon finished last month and he is available on a free transfer.

Schmeichel and Villa boss John Gregory welcomed the 37-year-old's return to the Premiership.

The fans feel that the senior executives at the club haven't got the ambition to put this club on a proper footing
  Buck Chinn: Aston Villa Shareholders Association
But Buck Chinn, chairman of Aston Villa Shareholders' Association, questioned the move.

Schmeichel is set to go straight into Villa's first team following the sale of David James to West Ham on Wednesday.

Schmeichel said: "This summer I had a few options to consider - retiring, playing on or possibly doing a TV job - and I gave myself time to find out what I wanted to do.

"It took me two weeks to find out that I still wanted to play and the only place I could go and play was back in the Premiership.

"I still think it is the best league in the world. I will not say I regretted going to Portugal but at times I have missed the atmosphere, the good play and the physical part of the game.

"I came to the conclusion I could knock them back anywhere except the Premiership and now I'm looking forward to a big challenge with Aston Villa."

Gregory said: "Peter Schmeichel is a winner through and through and he is as hungry as ever to be successful.

David James
James moved to West Ham on Wednesday
"He has a fantastic reputation in the Premiership from his time with Manchester United and he is not going to want to have any stains on that reputation.

"He will come in as my number one goalkeeper for this season.

"I've already put pressure on him because he has won a Championship medal at every club he has been at."

Chinn expressed concern at the direction of the Midlands outfit in the light of recent dealings.

"I just really worry about which way our club is going when we let Gareth Southgate and David James - 30-year-old England internationals - go and bring in a player at the age of 37.

"I know he (Schmeichel) is a great keeper, and I'm happy that we've got a man of his quality.

  Schmeichel factfile
1963: Born Gladsaxe, Denmark
1984: Makes debut for Hvidovre IF
1987: Signs for Brondby.
1991: Joins Man Utd for 600,000
1992: Wins League Cup and European Championship
1993: Wins English Premiership
1994: Wins double with Man Utd
1996: Wins second double
1999: Wins European Cup
1999: Signs for Sporting Lisbon
2000: Awarded an honorary MBE
2001: Retires from international game
2001: Signs for Aston Villa
"But I fear we've just let someone go who is, at the least, his equal as a goalkeeper and is seven years younger.

"I've got nothing against Schmeichel but James has just got better and better and I don't understand their (Villa's) thinking.

"The fans feel that the senior executives at the club haven't got the ambition to put this club on a proper footing."

Schmeichel is set to face his former Manchester United team-mates on 26 August in Villa's third game of the new Premiership season.

He could make his Villa debut in the Intertoto Cup third round, first leg match against Croatian side Slaven Belupo on Saturday.

Schmeichel played 129 times for Denmark, helping his country win the 1992 European championship before retiring from international football in April.

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12 Jul 01 |  Aston Villa
Villa lure the Great Dane
20 Feb 01 |  Aston Villa
Villa lure the Great Dane
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