"The fans, virtually right from day one, were absolutely brilliant with me," Villa's new No1 told the Lancashire Telegraph. "I couldn't have asked for a better reception from them, or for better forgiveness on the occasions when I did make mistakes.
"I felt we had a tremendous relationship and that made it very, very difficult for me to make this decision.
"I just hope they don't hold me in contempt for wanting to take this move.
"I tried to give my heart and soul to the club every time I pulled on the shirt and I think I achieved that.
"I had three other chances to move from Blackburn during my time at the club, but I chose not to go.
"This was one of those opportunities though that was too good to turn down."