Date: 23rd July 2008 at 10:06am
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The Gareth Barry saga continues with the press picking up on the booing of the England international during a pre-season friendly v Walsall. Villa fans who were there however say that there were boos but also fans supporting him and when he came off he did his usual clap to the crowd, some cheered, some clapped and others booed. So it isn’t quite as cut and dried as the press are saying.

The Mirror say he was ‘booed relentlessly’ adding that he ‘pulled on their colours for the last time’. Again, why? Has the offer been upped? Have we lowered our price? Not that I can see yet!

BBC Sport reported that ‘Aston Villa supporters turned on unsettled Gareth Barry during the friendly victory at Walsall.’

The Birmingham Post: ‘Gareth Barry’s surprise appearance for Villa hijacked the high-profile friendly with Walsall. Wantaway Barry was subjected to an hour’s worth of derision from Villa’s travelling army of fans before being put out of his misery. The England midfield man was rounded on every time he touched the ball as derogatory chants chimed out around the Banks’ Stadium.’ But they also give the other side of the story adding, ‘By the time Barry departed the pitch, relationships had improved to the point of mixed applause, while manager Martin O’Neill watched impassively from the stands.’

The Guardian called the boos predictable ‘as the hostile chants as Aston Villa fans turned on Gareth Barry for a period last night when the England midfielder was subjected to a chastening run-out in a reserve XI at Walsall.’

Meanwhile the Telegraph quote Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as confirming they need ‘one more body’ as he looks for a defensive midfielder and the paper say he has refused to rule out Barry.

So, our latest poll asks, were fans right to boo Gareth Barry? For me, I’d not want to boo him, if he goes he has given 10 good years (we’ve also given him 10 good years) and will make us a packet of money. Not that bad, although it does hurt us that he wants out and especially as he is such a key player, however life will go on as long as we do bring in more quality this summer and sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Still can’t stand the thought of seeing him in another teams colours mind you, he has been my favourite player for years!