Date: 3rd June 2009 at 2:07pm
Written by:

Gareth Barry has written an open letter to the Villa fans in the Birmingham Mail explaining his decision to leave. Quite why he didn’t do this through the official site I have no idea, it would have been the appropriate medium surely?

Barry thanks the fans for their ‘incredible support’ over the last 12 years and says the club has been a ‘huge’ part of his life.


‘A lot of things have changed in that time, players, management and a chairman – but every season bar none, whether we have been bottom half, mid table or challenging for Europe, the support myself and the team have received has been fantastic.’

He says his biggest regret is not bringing the fans the success deserved and says he takes his share of the collective responsibility for the fact we’ve not been good enough to bring home some silverware.

Mystifyingly he adds, ‘I feel the club is in the best position it has been in during my time here, I think we have a group of very good young players, we have a fantastic chairman who is here for the good of the club and one of the best managers in the game.’


So why did he choose to leave?

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 and made me a fantastic offer which I am extremely grateful for. 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.’

He also says he thinks the deal is good not only for him but also for the club and says Martin O’Neill will no doubt use that money to strengthen the team. What he doesn’t realise is if you lose a player of his quality, it isn’t easy to bring in a replacement!

And on City:

‘I am also excited now about my new challenge, a lot of people will question my decision to join Manchester City, but they were the club prepared to meet the valuation, which for a 28-year-old with a year left on his contract I think shows how much they wanted me. Once I had spoke to Mark Hughes there was nowhere else I wanted to go, I was also desperate to avoid any long drawn out saga.

He also feels City 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.’

So he obviously doesn’t feel Villa can do so? If not, why not?

He knows that ‘Time will tell if I am right or not, but those are my reasons.’

He also adds that he has ‘grown bored’ of the press talk and rumours and is sure that the Villa fans have also, ‘I am glad I never left last summer because I would have left under a huge cloud. This year I feel things are different, I haven’t used an agent. I have discussed things with my best friend [agent Michael Standing] but ultimately made my own choices.’

‘I believe the situation has been handled properly by everybody involved. Once again I have to thank the manager and the club for that. I genuinely wish the club all the best for the future and want to thank everyone who has helped and supported me in my time here.’

He ends the letter:

For the rest of my life Aston Villa will be the first result I look for.

Thanks for everything.

Gareth Barry.

Originally published in The Birmingham Mail


21 Replies to “Gareth Barry’s Open Letter To Fans”

  • fair enough, he has gone, time to move on. Sidwell or Hokey Cokey in the centre? Or Bentley brought in and Milner to the middle?!

  • if we got bentley in id be pleased with that……….cant see MON playing him in Cm tho, thats not his position………what?

  • Gareth Barry didn’t have to put any comments in the Birmingham Mail. Many players just move on, but clearly Villa has been Barry’s life for a long time and of course he moves with mixed feelings. As a City fan I am delighted he has chosen to join us. Villa have had 12 years of him. I hope the next five will be his best!

  • As to barry’s replacement, surely Sidwell can step up his game? He played great aggressive football at Reading under Coppell. Can O’Neill bring the best out of him now?

  • Forget Barry. 12 years service and 12m for a 28 year old in the final year of his contract – that’s good business for Villa, I reckon. What’s more MON can re-energise a rather one-dimensional midfield. The big problem is that we need 4/5 quality signings PLUS like-for-like replacements for Barry and Laursen and anyone else shown the door if we’re to push on, & that ain’t gonna be easy!

  • Just another greedy player, gone to a worse team and no euro football, thought he wanted the Champions League

  • GB – GARETH BARRY – GREAT BRITISH – GREEDY ********.. there’s only one greedy ********, one greeeeeedy bastaaaard will fill villa park next season, i’m sure. but his letter does seem very sincere and i wish him all the best despite wanting city to fall apart.

  • Stale!!?! MON rejuvenated and reinvented GB and as a result he established himself as an England regular. Why Barry feels like he has to write a letter of explanation/apology is beyond me – maybe there is a sense of guilt after all ! So long Mr Barry, the Villa will move on whilst you enjoy life in the “comfort zone” – your 5 man midfield and your 100k a week lifestyle. I honestly believe the cloud he has left under this summer is bigger than the one he, his then agent and the FSW created last year.

  • We have got good money for him and he cost next to nothing. He could have done a ‘Mellberg’ and seen out his contract and left for nothing. He has done the decent thing, something that Mellberg didn’t do. I would much rather us have £12m in the bank than a few shirts given out on the last day of the season, which were to disguise the fact that Mellberg shat on us. But some people couldn’t see it. As for greedy. I bet there is not one person who is making this acussation that would refuse to move jobs for triple the wages and a years salary upfront?? Hypocrites.

  • VOTH you contradict yourself, you say that none of us would would refuse to change jobs for huge money and as a result shouldn’t give Barry grief. Although Mellberg shat on us apparently for wanting the exact same thing. IMO they both gave their all to the very last game, both wanted a last chance of a huge pay cheque. No difference really, other than the fee obtained, which is the clubs responsibility rather than the player, I’d’ve thought.

  • He is very sincere in the letter. He did not use an agent and he did not let the talks drag on and on. Fair play to him. We all knew there was a 95% chance of him going. We got an excellent price (but would have liked a part exchange with Johnson Richards or Sturridge) and he has not left to one of the top 4 which we are trying to break into. Fair play to him. Man City will buy a lot this summer and pay agents millions (Tevez anyone??) This transfer was conducted privately and professionally…..I just hope our move for Defour is just the same 😉

  • VOTH – Mellberg did not treat Villa poorly at all. He made us all aware early that he would be moving on and that he would give 100% until then – which he did! Even though he was shoved out at right-back. Even if he had have been sold he would not have earned that much money for us due to his age. He also went to Juventus – hardly a rival!!! Would they have paid £12m for him???? He went for Champions League football – an international player who has played in World Cups. That was his chance and he deserves it. Fair play to MELLBERG is what I would say. And in many ways (see my previous post) fair play to BARRY as well (last summer excluded).

  • Fair play to him but its still a bit hard to swallow. The only thing that will erase this memory will be to get a decent european name, like Defour in. Give us something to smile about MON for f#@k sake

  • At what point is that letter sincere? The real reason for that letter is an attempt to absolve himself of any guilt. Nice try GB but I not buying it! We all know the real reason for the move. Money! the same reason you tried to engineer yourself a payday last year. Champions League? YEAH RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gappy65 at the same time, we all knew he would give us a year, e gave us that – we gave him Heskey (certainly not what was promised). He therefore decided to move on – Liverpool were not in for him, so he went to City. He is NOT a Brummie nor a Villa fan so he should have no more real loyalty than any other of our players. It would be like us all making it as a pro; getting signed to Everton, Fulham etc. but dreaming of a move to a Champions League club or Villa. They dont come in for us so we take a move to a team which has the resources to get us to the Champions League. PLUS WE GOT £12M FOR HIM!! Its now up to O’Neill to get a better player than him for a decent amount.

  • I appreciate his gesture he didnt have to do that and anyone who thinks he owes us has their head in the sand.He doesn’t sound like a player who was desperate leave in the end.I think Liverpool were going to bully us again to sell at their terms and that hasn’t happened so feeling quite positive about it.He seems to have acknoledged how badly he handled last summer.My respect has gone up for him,I’ll give him a good reception when he returns with City.

  • Loved the article and thankyou for everything GB,hope it all works out for you as just like Yorkey and Platty you deserve trophies not empty promises.

    Upto you now MON….

  • How many of you lot would stay at McDonalds on £5.95 per hour when you could get £6.10 at Burger King? It is their job. Good luck to GB and I hope MON uses the money wisely.

    Barry was a bit slow anyway and is unlikely to add much to MC other than a calm side or back pass.

    Now Mon can rotate midfield players without a fans / player attititude problem. Roll on next season. UTV.

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