New Birmingham City signing Matt Derbyshire has promised Blues fans he will be giving his former next door neighbour the cold shoulder - after it was revealed to be Olof Mellberg.
The striker lived next door to former Villa favourite Mellberg in Greece, where they were team-mates at Olympiakos.
And when Alex McLeish’s interest became clear, Derbyshire began to ask the Swedish centre-half all about his new club and the city.
But Derbyshire admitted he didn’t know Mellberg was keeping a secret from him – how much they love to hate him down at St Andrew’s.
The enmity stems from the first few Premier League Blues-Villa derbies.
Mellberg wound up Blues by saying he had never heard of any of their players – but he soon had, following the subsequent 3-0 bashing in September 2002.
And he mocked them by saying they celebrated ‘as if they had won the World Cup’ when Stern John netted that famous stoppage-time equaliser to bring Steve Bruce’s side back from 2-0 down six years ago.
Mellberg, who was also deliberately poked in the eye by Robbie Savage during one on-pitch dust-up, had the last laugh with the 5-1 battering of Alex McLeish’s men in April 2008.
And he milked it for all his worth when he was substituted at the end in order to take the applause of the Holte End.
He left for Juventus at the end of that season and then moved to Olympiakos.
“Olof was my neighbour back at Olympiakos,” said Derbyshire. “So we spoke, but not in any great detail really.
“He was telling me about places to live, and that Birmingham’s a nice city.
“I knew he was at Villa and I think it was only the last couple of days, when he knew I was coming to Birmingham, that we would talk about it.
‘‘I didn’t know about all that other stuff. I’ll not call him anymore then – that’s it, I hate him now!”