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Why I'm Going To Support Man City - An Open Letter...


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After all the speculation over the last 12 months, I want the chance to explain my decision to the Villa players.

Firstly I want to thank them for the incredible rollercoaster I have experienced over the last 12 years, this football club has been a huge part of my life, I got my first season ticket as a 16-year-old boy and now I am moving on as a 28-year-old man with a wife and two children, and a collection of souvenir programmes - including the two special ones from that European thing we played in last season.

A lot of things have changed in that time, players, management and a chairman (Doug Ellis gave us a reason to have a good old moan, eh lads?!) - but every season bar none, whether we have been bottom half, mid table or challenging for Europe, the players and everyone on Villa Talk have been fantastic.

My one huge regret is that during my time at this club the players have not brought the fans the success we deserve - Stan Collymore, Sasa Curcic, Bosko Balaban et al all failed to pay the fans back for our support. Gareth Barry obviously has to take his share of responsibility that we have not been good enough to win trophies, but also the "fickleness" of us as supporters hasn't helped.

I feel the club is in the best position it has been in during my time as a fan (a far cry from when David O'Leary was slagging us all off), I think we have a group of very good young players (apart from Isiah Osbourne), we have a fantastic chairman who is here for the good of the club and one of the best managers in the game.

Obviously people will ask why I am leaving to support Manchester City if I feel like that.

I have honestly been very undecided what to do, the manager and the whole club have bent over backwards to try and persuade me to stay - including free copies of Claret and Blue magazine and some desktop wallpapers with my name on the back of Ashley Young's shirt - and made me a fantastic offer which I am extremely grateful for (season tickets in the North Stand Lower are EXCELLENT value).

But, after changing my mind lots of times, I came to the decision that the time was right for me and for the club to part company. I need a new challenge, I have a massive fear of going stale and falling into a comfort zone - I didn't want to become a glory fan with a Liverpool shirt when I'm not even from there!

I believe the move is a good one for the club (they can sell my season ticket to someone more committed), I am sure the Mrs will use the spare season ticket money well to buy something nice and the club will go from strength to strength.

I am also excited now about my new club, a lot of people will question my decision to support Manchester City, but they were the club prepared to pay the most for players, which for a 28-year-old with a satellite dish and HDTV I think shows how much they will allow me to boast down the pub.

Once I had seen them sign Robinho there was nobody else I wanted to support, I was also desperate to avoid any long drawn out saga.

I feel I am supporting a club that will seriously challenge to win major honours. People might doubt that, but I am convinced with the plans the club has short term and long term.

The backing the manager will receive from the owners (we almost signed Kaka untul Milan "bottled" it) tells me that we will be a major force.

Also the World Cup next year has always been a major part of my thinking. I feel with Manchester City being on TV so much next year I will get be able to forego a season ticket and spend the money on a nice handbag for the lady and a flight to South Africa next summer. Touch!

Time will tell if I am right or not, but those are my reasons.

I have grown bored of all the speculation surrounding me over the last 12 months and I am sure all the fans have as well, I am glad I never left last summer because I would have left under a huge cloud and not been able to a) brag when we were 3rd and B) moan when we were 6th.

This year I feel things are different, I haven’t used Setanta. I have discussed things with my best friend (a United fan from Richmond in Surrey) but ultimately made my own choices.

I believe the situation has been handled properly by everybody involved. Once again I have to thank the media and Man City's new owners for that.

I genuinely wish the club all the best for the future and want to thank everyone who has helped and supported them with me in my time here.

For the rest of my life Aston Villa will be the first result I look for. After Manchester City. And Barcelona. Unless Real Madrid sign Cristiano Ronaldo and start doing well again under the new President.

Thanks for everything.

Gary Bareth.

Is it any more acceptable coming from a fan? Is there any point following football any more, when it's all about who has the richest owner? It's basically Formula One with boots instead of tyres...

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I'm glad the lying scum bag is gone. It's just a shame he's taken my passion for football with him.

I can see why my dad loves golf so much, none of this BULLSHIT and heartache.

**** you gareth barry. **** you and good night.

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