Date: 29th June 2008 at 7:15pm
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Vital Villa Member BarosBarryBouma responds to the reported comments from Villa Captain Gareth Barry, and admits he may well have been wrong about him.

It hurts to be wrong.

And as painful as it is to admit it, over the last two months or so I’ve been wrong. Terribly wrong.

Not wrong about the bold statement in my signature, that is. I’m still of the belief that unless Liverpool stop thinking they can push us around and actually start treating our club with a bit of respect, and unless they put in an offer that is worthy of our attention, Barry will be going nowhere.

No, if today`s reports are to be believed, I made a bit of a more fundamental error. I gave Barry too much respect. I believed he would maintain the softly-spoken, quiet model professional attitude that he has shown for the vast majority of his 10 year tenure at Villa Park. I didn’t think we’d see a dummy spat out, a public tantrum, an airing of dirty laundry. I believed Barry to be above that kind of behaviour.

Oh, how wrong can you be?

That said, I have to wonder whether the bridges Barry has burned today are a simply a result of his foolishness, or whether it is a combination of his own frustration and some remarkably poor advice.

You see, on the surface, this looks to be quite a clever statement – Barry playing the wronged party, the one who has been let down, the one who has been disrespected. He talks about lack of contact with the club, about how he has been kept waiting and strung along. He attempts to shift the blame for his own decision to leave onto the shoulders of our manager and board. But the pieces of the puzzle don’t quite fit. His sentiments don’t quite ring true. And the evidence doesn’t add up.

We know Barry had a meeting with MO’N after Liverpool’s interest first became public, we know that he had a meeting with Lerner and MO’N after the end of the season, and we know that the end result of that meeting was to leave Barry for a few weeks so he could mull over his future. Unfortunately Barry is now attacking our owners and management for respecting his wishes and giving him the time to think.

Barry says it is about ambition, not money; he states a desire to play in the Champions League as being the reason for his decision. Yet in the same breath he talks about not being offered a new contract or improved terms, and ignores completely the fact that he is contracted to our club for a further two years. Despite the bluster, he also has still refused to hand in a transfer request – something to do with the fact that both he and his agent would be entitled to a sizable cut of any fee we received from his sale, unless he did so? One can only wonder.

And then of course, we have the timing of his statement, publically criticising your club and manager the very day that they are due to appear on worldwide television at the final of the year’s most important footballing competition. Timing designed to do nothing less than infuriate the man with the final say on whether he stays or goes. Timing, as they say, is everything.

Barry’s whole statement appears to be an attempt to push and goad our management and board into cutting our losses and letting him go. He makes sure there is no way back for him at our club, without going so far as to lose what could be a very lucrative pay off.

I’m sorry Gareth, but not for one second do I buy the hard-done-by image you are trying to portray. Not for one second do I believe that you only want to move to fulfil your ambitions, and that money isn’t an issue. And not for one second do I believe you could have been so manipulative on your own. Whether you’ve bought into the promises of your agent, or by the attempts of Benitez and Gerrard to turn your head, it makes no difference. You’ve attempted to be clever and instead have made a very foolish mistake. And if you think your comments will anger our manager into parting with you on the cheap, then you obviously don’t know him as well as you (or your agent) think you do. You’ve let your club down, your fans down and yourself down.

‘There’s no going back, it’s time for me to move on’, you said. That may very well be true, Gareth. But if so, then the blame is all yours.


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