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The Big Barry Climb Down


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by The_Dogz_Danglies

I arrived home late this evening from a brisk drink on the town and began the nightly ritual of a scanning the forums and news bulletins expecting very little nourishment bar the result of the Reading friendly. In retrospect how wrong could I be.

Almost all of us had approached the Barry saga with the firm belief that he was a world-class player that would inevitably draw the attention of larger clubs. We also realised that a player of Gareth Barry’s calibre and ambition would eventually seek to push his career forward and on to the highest possible level. None of us, however, could predict how this would eventually pan out.

I do not feel the need to recap in detail the well documented twists and turns of recent months. Leaked interests, declared interests, un-authorised paper interviews and hero to zero and back again. We have all read and re-read it a thousand times.

However, on Monday somebody finally took the bull by its horns. Our saviour Martin O’Neill declared that there would be an end to this saga. The transfer, if it happened, would be entirely on his terms and to his timescale. The date was kept secret from the press and fans alike but we were all promised a definite end to the saga that had so far filled too many column inches and forum pages to be healthy. In blissful ignorance the deadline silently passed, acknowledged just five minutes later on the official site by a five line article stating that Gareth Barry, in accordance with a deal struck between himself, his agent, the management and the interested party would indeed be staying with us for the immediate future. This was, in no uncertain terms, a revelation. How dare a club the size of Aston Villa and with our history defy the mighty Liverpool, robbing them of their intended bounty. Praise rained in from the otherwise sceptical media applauding our approach to wanton predators. The squad no longer looked so thread bare and all was right in the world.

Tonight the world has been turned upside down. The deadline held less credibility than Bill Clinton's marriage vows. The man we cheered onto the pitch against Odense had less integrity than an estate agent during a property slump. First thing Thursday morning another meeting was held between Martin O’Neill, Gareth Barry and his agent. Barry and his agent felt that Liverpool would still come in and complete the deal and ‘solely’ because of this the deadline has been completely abolished. Now Liverpool have ‘all the time in the world’ to sign a player under contract who has yet to actually place an official transfer request.

Where does this leave us now?

As a team; Our best player and captain (in the loosest sense of the word) is adamant he is leaving. We have a weaker midfield, no left back cover and two weeks of uncertainty where we have no certain idea which positions we need to strengthen.

As fans; What do we believe? We are told Barry is going, we are told there is a deadline, we are told Barry is staying. We are told MON can count, we are told money is no object. We are told the signings will come. Not all of our history has been so proud and by recent events not all aspects of our future are going to be so bright.

As a club; A media field-day. We take a hard line but sustain it for less than 24 hours resulting in us becoming a bit of a laughing stock akin to Spurs reporting Liverpool to the FA one minute then selling them their captain the next. We say that no player is bigger than the club but a single person has made a very good job of calling Lerner and O’Neills bluff in a very public way thus denting the entire clubs credibility and more importantly denting the trust between fans and the board. A commodity we both hold so very highly.

It does appear that in all respects that we talk a very good game.

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What bothers me (in addition to the way things happened with the deadline) is the reports in the papers that Liverpool were 15 minute late and that they had everything in order, and now, five days later, they still have not gotten the money. Seems to me they were leaking this just to get Barry's head even more turned.

I really hate their way of doing this business.

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This article is bollocks!

Why? Because you fail to highlight the fact that Barry is insistent on leaving, even after he gave his word (yes you mention it), that is the only reason we are selling him as we all know. Yet you blame the board as much as 'my word isn't worth shit' Barry. Why do our own fans have to badmouth the club. Go and support the bluenose.

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As much as I agree that the whole saga is twisted, I cannot concur with your sentiment that this has somehow left the club with an embarrassing situation, nor dented our future. Martin O'Neill and Randy Lerner have acted in the best interests of our club throughout this situation. As a player under contract Gareth Barry takes the vast majority of the blame in all of this. When Liverpool first showed an interest he had a chance to say/do the right thing. He didn't. Instead, he went to his unethical, greedy agent and sought his advice. Mr. Black, since that day has handed out "advice" and "guidance" to Barry that breaks all possible ethical guidelines and moral approaches. Barry could have walked away from Black at any time he wanted. Instead, he chose to follow that route. He has been slapped in the face by Benitez and Liverpool for four months - the failure to sell Alonso, the purchase of Robbie Keane, the offers of reserve players in exchange, the comments about how much he liked the combination of Keane, Torres, Gerard and Alonso in the friendly game, and most of all, the continued under-valuation of a player who is currently entering the peak of his career and is a national team regular playing in front of Lampard, Hargreaves, Carrick - all of whom have recently been valued at similar or higher prices. GARETH BARRY HAS BETRAYED HIS TEAMMATES, THIS CLUB AND HIS MANAGER. He has put self before team and failed to recognize the one reason why his career has elevated over the past two years - Martin O'Neill.

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Cue strains of "F%&$ off Benitez" around Villa Park

It's the arrogance and lack of class from Liverpool that has genuinely surprised me this season. They were always the team I looked for second after Villa as there whole ethos was based on the working class wag who could barely afford to keep his family in food but could still support his beloved team from the kop end. My Scouse mate can barely lift his head in my company now, so embarrassed is he over this debacle, add to that the Keane tapping up incident and Benitez has turned this once proud club into everyone's favourite enemy. I truly hope they all go to Anfield and the club fails to make it into Europe next season. Bah humbug and pass the sour grapes.....

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What bothers me (in addition to the way things happened with the deadline) is the reports in the papers that Liverpool were 15 minute late and that they had everything in order, and now, five days later, they still have not gotten the money. Seems to me they were leaking this just to get Barry's head even more turned.

I really hate their way of doing this business.

MON specifically denied the story about 15 minutes past the deadline, saying that Pool had confirmed beforehand that they couldn't do it. I think the simple fact that they haven't yet done the deal supports his account, for anyone inclined to doubt what he says.

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What bothers me (in addition to the way things happened with the deadline) is the reports in the papers that Liverpool were 15 minute late and that they had everything in order, and now, five days later, they still have not gotten the money.

If you think about it, it certainly heavily suggests that, in fact, Liverpool did NOT have everything in order and the reports are in fact completely false and designed solely to save what little face the Scousers have left ("Ooh bad Villa forced their deadline on poor Liverpool").

In fact you'd even have to question whether they even made a bid just past the deadline..... but now we're just speculating eh?

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I am a mature lifelong supporter, seen it all good and bad. I have believed that MON is a class act and kept faith in him. Now I am not so sure. The only unequivocally great signing he has made is Luke Young. Carew was good, but not stunning. Ditto Davies. Most others have been at best mediocre, to be blunt, and we all know it. Should MON have gone to the Euro Tournament when he did? We all defended him, didn't we? Barry had a go, but lots of us deep down must have agreed with him. Meanwhile here we are again with precious little in the way of rebuilding work completed. I still think MON is a great manager, but you sense he has little stomach for the cynical chicanery of the modern transfer market. With monotonous regularity, if the press are to be believed (and they must be right sometimes!) we are outbid and outmanouevred by sharper more determined operators. MON doesn't seem to want to fight hard and dirty for players. This stops us over-bidding for rubbish, but means we also miss out too often and end up with the players other managers don't want. We just don't win transfer battles because MON has no stomach for the fight, it seems to me. He's given up on Barry, in my opinion, because he is sickened by the cynical selfishness of GB and Rafa Benitez. That's great and I admire his scruples, but where does that leave AV? I hope I am proved wrong and we get a flush of great new players. But don't count on it.

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If Villa sell Barry quickly, say in the next 48 hours, for the full price, then it is arguable that the "deadline" served its purpose very nicely, as the feeling was that given their recent purchase of Robbie Keane they were going to keep Villa hanging (Villa at the behest of Liverpool was the phrase used) for some time while they sold players to fund the deal (ONeill made quite a fuss about this being new information that Liverpool needed to sell first).

Every day that passes without Liverpool doing the business makes liverpool look more and more ridiculous. Why cant they complete if they had the money nearly a week ago? Someone has been telling porkies, and it is either Liverpool or Barry's people.

ONeill has " a football club to manage" and needed closure on the deal one way or another quickly so that he could get on and either plan to have Barry in his team or plan on doing without him. He knows now which it is.

Who, exactly, is being naive? I think that for about the tenth time in this business Liverpool have been exposed as soething other than they are trying to pretned they are. I think that for about the tenth time in this business Gareth barry looks a right pratt.

ONeill, it seems to me, has what he wanted. Quick closure.

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Agree with all of that, Pete, apart from the "quick closure" bit.

It's anything but.

Equally, Villa don't come out of it looking too clever either, whatever the good intentions.

Saying he's staying, then a couple of days later saying " no he isn't" is not perceived by many as an indication of firmness and strength.

Whatever the reasons for the change of heart - whether GB changed his mind, whether Liverpool are divided - the owners don't want to pay, but the manager wanted to keep it alive and got back in touch with GB to say "I still want you here at Anfield", whether GB was less that fully committed in his acceptance of the deadline even before the announcement, the saga is not doing anyone any favours.

Absolutely no-one is emerging with much credit, and some with their reputations decidedly tarnished.

For me the Agent (hardly a pristine breed anyway) and Liverpool come out of it very badly.

GB looks like all the rest of the greedy self obsessed prima-donnas that the media, or sections of it, fawn over.

MO'N looks like he's been "beaten" by determined and unprincipled actions from several parties

Villa's board look like they've a bit to learn about how devious some elements within the game are.

So even those with honourable, honest, intent and a great deal of integrity have been harmed to an extent - casualties, if you like, rather than self inflicted wounds.

Maybe that's unavoidable, and maybe the damage is minimal in some cases.

Basically, like the General said on another matter - if you wrestle with a pig, you get muddy.

I feel there is a possibility that there will be further unedifying detail come out. There's a chance that the money issues at Liverpool are going to re-open splits they have between the two owners , and between the owners, manager and Parry.

I also think there is a chance that the whole saga is going to put more strain on MO'N and that under that strain he will find other issues harder to deal with.

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Yes I may have the dreaded 'rose coloured spectacles' on but what did MON do wrong ?

Clearly Barry promised to do 4 years, then broke it.

Then he promised to abide by a deadline, then broke it.

Other than their early mutterings I'm not sure what Liverpool have done either.

As far as I can see the problem is the Player. My only criticism of MON would be that he should have done with Barry what he did with Cahill and the rest, as soon as Barry said he wanted to go MON should have said he diodn't want him here.

What really still staggers me is that at Reading a few days ago I was having to argue with 'Barry Cheering fans' that of all the players at the Club he merited it least, only to be told that they hoped it would change his mind !! Hell hath no fury like a footy fan scorned, and how scorned they have bben. What a reception the fella will get when back at VP.

We did stand up to Liverpool, we did try and keep the player, but he ended up wanting to go. And that's all there is to it.

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....I still believe the Gareth Barry saga is much like the dwight yorke saga with legs... and we have learn't very little.

...and its all borne out of one sad fact that we simply under perform in the transfer market.... in terms of quality and quantity and it has come home to roost.

we end up pandering to players, instead of employing a tad of contempt( meant in the right way, a touch of arrogance)....Ron saunders did not carry on like this despite his limited funds.

If money was no object as is described in some quarters.....Gareth Barry's position should have been replaced after his NOTW expletive....The manager could then have said left back or the bench.

The way things are going at B6 the tail is waging the dog.

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This article is bollocks!

Why? Because you fail to highlight the fact that Barry is insistent on leaving, even after he gave his word (yes you mention it), that is the only reason we are selling him as we all know. Yet you blame the board as much as 'my word isn't worth shit' Barry. Why do our own fans have to badmouth the club. Go and support the bluenose.

You're right.... Barry is insistent on leaving, just like Dwight yorke was and yes it hurts us all when your best player wants out...... but what hurts more is when there appears little chance of replacing that level of quality.

Gareth Barry was obviously sold a line,by Martin O'Neill when he was just about to leave 2 years ago.....Gareth has had a chance to see the level of ambition during that time and despite the heady heights of 6th has decided its not for him.

I am not looking to blame any individual at the club,because i don't know where the blame lies, but i do fervently believe that the performance in the transfer market is at the centre of all our woes.

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I am a mature lifelong supporter, seen it all good and bad. I have believed that MON is a class act and kept faith in him. Now I am not so sure. The only unequivocally great signing he has made is Luke Young. Carew was good, but not stunning. Ditto Davies. Most others have been at best mediocre, to be blunt, and we all know it. Should MON have gone to the Euro Tournament when he did? We all defended him, didn't we? Barry had a go, but lots of us deep down must have agreed with him. Meanwhile here we are again with precious little in the way of rebuilding work completed. I still think MON is a great manager, but you sense he has little stomach for the cynical chicanery of the modern transfer market. With monotonous regularity, if the press are to be believed (and they must be right sometimes!) we are outbid and outmanouevred by sharper more determined operators. MON doesn't seem to want to fight hard and dirty for players. This stops us over-bidding for rubbish, but means we also miss out too often and end up with the players other managers don't want. We just don't win transfer battles because MON has no stomach for the fight, it seems to me. He's given up on Barry, in my opinion, because he is sickened by the cynical selfishness of GB and Rafa Benitez. That's great and I admire his scruples, but where does that leave AV? I hope I am proved wrong and we get a flush of great new players. But don't count on it.

At least that sorts out the right back position, didnt hear the news of that signing, but should appease some folk :)

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Agree with all of that, Pete, apart from the "quick closure" bit.

It's anything but.

Equally, Villa don't come out of it looking too clever either, whatever the good intentions.

Saying he's staying, then a couple of days later saying " no he isn't" is not perceived by many as an indication of firmness and strength.

Whatever the reasons for the change of heart - whether GB changed his mind, whether Liverpool are divided - the owners don't want to pay, but the manager wanted to keep it alive and got back in touch with GB to say "I still want you here at Anfield", whether GB was less that fully committed in his acceptance of the deadline even before the announcement, the saga is not doing anyone any favours.

Absolutely no-one is emerging with much credit, and some with their reputations decidedly tarnished.

For me the Agent (hardly a pristine breed anyway) and Liverpool come out of it very badly.

GB looks like all the rest of the greedy self obsessed prima-donnas that the media, or sections of it, fawn over.

MO'N looks like he's been "beaten" by determined and unprincipled actions from several parties

Villa's board look like they've a bit to learn about how devious some elements within the game are.

So even those with honourable, honest, intent and a great deal of integrity have been harmed to an extent - casualties, if you like, rather than self inflicted wounds.

Maybe that's unavoidable, and maybe the damage is minimal in some cases.

Basically, like the General said on another matter - if you wrestle with a pig, you get muddy.

I feel there is a possibility that there will be further unedifying detail come out. There's a chance that the money issues at Liverpool are going to re-open splits they have between the two owners , and between the owners, manager and Parry.

I also think there is a chance that the whole saga is going to put more strain on MO'N and that under that strain he will find other issues harder to deal with.

but the underlying problem is that we are the architect of our own demise..... by procrastinating in the transfer market.

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You have summarised this whole sorry mess perfectly.

It is sad to realise that Barry is just as thick as all the other routine footie players.

They get picked for the England squad - get tapped up by the other squad members, and get totally sucked in.

Must play for a BIG club. (They do not come much bigger than Villa)

Forget the fact that Benitez cannot cope with a squad system. His touchline antics, week in, week out, resemble a demented coach driver (no offence to coach drivers!).

Forget the fact that Benitez has virtually sabotaged Crouch's international career by leaving him on the bench despite the fact he scores every time he plays.

Forget the fact Benitez does not value Barry above Robbie Keane! He found more than £20 Mill to buy the journeyman Keane when he did not have enough money to buy Barry.

Simple logic dictates Barry will therefore spend a huge amount of time on the bench at Liverpool.

Xabi Alonso is still at Liverpool. Barry will struggle to get picked ahead of Alonso.

Will Gerrard still be at Liverpool in 2 years time? Little point in selling your soul if your big mate (who originally tapped you up) moves on to Real Madrid or similar.

Barry will come to regret the day he decided to turn his back on Villa. I think his agent has a big part to play in all this. There will be a massive payday for the agent if Barry's move goes through.

I think Barry can look forward to some very uncomfortable afternoons at Villa Park over the next few years. OK, he has given us 10 years service, but his reasons for moving away do not add up. He has let us all down. BIG STYLE!

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... the underlying problem is that we are the architect of our own demise..... by procrastinating in the transfer market.

Apart from, to me, being a different subject altogether, I don't think the Barry saga has a huge amount to do with transfers in or out generally - though I do agree that inactivity in recruiting players hypothetically weakens any potential persuasion along the lines of "stay here, look at what we're doing in improving the squad". But that is surely secondary, in my view.

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Agree with Blandy's assessment that apart from being able to prove to Barry that we can match his ambition, being slow in the market doesn't impact the Barry deal or vice versa. And tbh Barry wants CL football NOW NOW NOW so it wouldn't matter who we bought, we aint in the CL so he wont want to stay.

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... the underlying problem is that we are the architect of our own demise..... by procrastinating in the transfer market.

Apart from, to me, being a different subject altogether, I don't think the Barry saga has a huge amount to do with transfers in or out generally - though I do agree that inactivity in recruiting players hypothetically weakens any potential persuasion along the lines of "stay here, look at what we're doing in improving the squad". But that is surely secondary, in my view.

Blandy...what i was trying to illustrate is, we are talking about the disease not the symptom.

Gareth Barry is the disease, the symptom is by being modest in the transfer market we are inadvertently encouraging them to look elsewhere.

This guy is not your common garden mercenary here.... this is a player like Dwight yorke who has spent many years ... ploughing the fields.

we simply have to SHOW we are buying club not a selling club and only then will we reverse this hurtful trend.

ps....i still think if the fans knew we would go out and replace his talent, not many would give a toss.

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Agree with Blandy's assessment that apart from being able to prove to Barry that we can match his ambition, being slow in the market doesn't impact the Barry deal or vice versa. And tbh Barry wants CL football NOW NOW NOW so it wouldn't matter who we bought, we aint in the CL so he wont want to stay.

It is all about opinions of course....but I am totally convinced that is what its all about.

I am not suggesting for one minute this a weekly or monthly problem and that underperforming in the transfer market is just lately.... it has been manifest for years and we are struggling to reverse the comments of Mark Ansell...." we are a selling club"

I am convinced had we signed top talent since Martin O'Neill's Appointment in greater abundance Gareth Barry's chances of having his head turned would have been reduced.

PS.....How do you think we get in to the champions league..... chances get enhanced by buying quality.

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