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Barry gets England talking

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Phil McNulty | 13:48 UK time, Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Almaty

Gareth Barry had plenty of time to ponder his decision to quit Aston Villa for Manchester City as he flew almost 3,500 miles to Europe's Eastern extremity.

Barry was part of England's squad that travelled on Wednesday to Kazakhstan's second city, Almaty, where they will play a World Cup qualifier on Saturday night. As European trips go, this is football's longest and Barry's preparations were interrupted by a deal that will have caused plenty of mid-air turbulence among his team-mates.

Steven Gerrard had hoped the midfield partnership that is expected to propel England further along the route to South Africa in this oil-rich part of Eurasia would be transported from Almaty to Anfield next season.

Instead, almost as the words left Gerrard's lips, Barry was concluding a deal that takes him to Eastlands and a club not even in Europe next season - flying directly in the face of his long-stated desire for Champions League football.

Gareth Barry

It is a move that has already left Barry facing inevitable charges that he has put money before ambition - and the word here is that Everton will soon be tested by Manchester City's financial muscle in an attempt to allow Joleon Lescott to hear the siren call of the Eastlands chequebook.

Liverpool had long been regarded as Barry's likely next destination, despite rancourous dealings between Rafael Benitez and his Villa counterpart Martin O'Neill last summer. There is even speculation Benitez made a renewed bid at the death of this deal, but the final reckoning left Liverpool nowhere as City delivered an ostentatious display of their wealth.

If City were flexing their muscles with last season's deadline day coup to sign £32m Robinho, this summer is shaping up as they time they will attempt to inflict their full force and shake up the established order at the top of the Premier League.

Barry is set for life on a five-year deal worth reportedly £25m - but only time will tell whether his insistence that he was afraid of going stale at Villa Park and was tempted by City's ambitious future plans stand up to close inspection.

The cynics, and there will be many, will take a twist on Mrs Merton's infamous question and ask: "So Gareth, what attracted you to the multi-billionaire club that could not even offer you the Europa League, let alone the Champions League?"

He will say, and there has to be some merit in this, that City's plans to at least try and beat the big four to every major talent available means he could be fulfilling his Champions League ambitions at Eastlands in 12 months.

Barry, however, will also know that the financial factor cannot be removed from the equation in this deal and it would do him credit if he actually admitted it.

Human nature being what it is, who could blame Barry for signing such a lucrative deal at this stage of his career, even if he does have to set what was apparently his major career goal on one side?

It is a sobering day for many. For Liverpool, who ultimately did not get near a player Benitez seemed intent on getting irrespective of any damage it may cause last summer, and for Arsenal.

Liverpool boss Benitez must now work out a way of keeping Xabi Alonso at Anfield, with the influential midfielder understood to be disaffected and keen to leave. Barry has long been regarded as the replacement if Alonso left, but Benitez no longer has this safety net to work with.

Arsenal are on the margins of the Premier League elite now. They are a comfortable fourth in the so-called "Big Four" and cannot come near City's cash reserves.

If City really can attract the names they want and, more crucially, if manager Mark Hughes can make it all work, then they could invade that top group. It is not guaranteed, but it is a possibility.

And what of those just outside the top four? Namely Everton and Aston Villa. Villa have already had a compelling and emphatic demonstration of what City's money can do and Everton, if all the conjecture is to be believed, are also on the radar in the shape of their outstanding defender Lescott.

Food for thought for Randy Lerner, but especially Bill Kenwright, who already admits he cannot compete with football's billionaire owners.

It is not a given, however, that City's billions guarantee success. This is Manchester City remember, and their history shows that if you offered them a mile they would happily take an inch. With every million spent this summer, the pressure ratchets up another notch on Hughes to get the return his Abu Dhabi-based paymasters will expect on their investment.

There is also pressure on the new faces. They must demonstrate that they are committed to City's cause not their chequebook. They will be under intense scrutiny.

Barry's next mission is with England, and while victory against Kazakhstan should be a formality, external influences will put Fabio Capello's squad to the test at the end of a gruelling campaign.

Central Stadium in Almaty

After an ardous eight-hour flight, England's players must adjust to a time difference that places Almaty five hours ahead of the UK. This far-flung Eastern outpost is only 200 miles from the Chinese border and also edges Kyrgyzstan. It lies even further from London than New York City, so there are adjustments to be made once they start the serious business of the build up here in Kazakhstan on Thursday

The temperatures that greet them will be comfortable, although hotter weather is expected. Almaty rests at the foot of the Tien Shan Mountains and there was plenty of cloud cover to accompany them on Wednesday.

England fans have already started arriving in a city that has a bustling centre and is an intriguing mix of old Eastern Europe and Asia.

If Barry's move to City served one purpose for Capello, who prefers not to have his preparations interrupted by such trifles as multi-million pound transfers, it at least kept the minds of England's players off the journey.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Gareth Barry is being given an undeservedly hard time over the move. It is perfectly clear that Manchester City have the potential to be absolutely anything, including - perish the thought - maybe even European Champions a few years down the line given the amount of money being pumped into the club. And I say that as a United man! City are simply preparing to do what all other successful clubs have done in the history of not only English but world football - get the chequebook out. Liverpool did it, Man Utd did it, Arsenal have done it, and most recently Chelsea have done it.

    And anyway, if Barry has moved only for the money then fair play to him. £25 million in wages? Christ, I'd move jobs for a five grand a year payrise!!! http://www.loserscomesecond.com/

  • Comment number 2.

    Not quite sure I understand his reasoning behind the move. At best it's because he hopes City will get some big names in and will do well over the next 2 seasons (somehow better than Aston Villa). Worst case, he burnt too many bridges last summer and decided the money was too good.

  • Comment number 3.

    To be honest, even if he has gone for the money then fair play. After all if he was just a normal run of the mill worker, nobody would do anything but criticise if he moved to a different company for better pay and conditions!

    He has more than given a fair time to Villa, and perhaps he sees the future of City as brighter for hima nd club, and maybe a way to cement an England place (at least while Hargreaves continues to be in A&E!).

    Good luck to him, and another good blog Phil!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Of course his move has been done for money.

    And there are going to be many more like him. All on their way to Eastlands.

    Fair enough. And I wish Man City the best.

    BUT

    I'm glad I'm not a Man City fan - or a Chelsea fan or a fan of any other club which has had it's soul bought out.

    It's a million miles from my idea of what football is all about.





  • Comment number 5.

    3. At 2:21pm on 03 Jun 2009, Lets sign everyone, then all the speculation will have been true!! wrote:
    To be honest, even if he has gone for the money then fair play. After all if he was just a normal run of the mill worker, nobody would do anything but criticise if he moved to a different company for better pay and conditions!

    He has more than given a fair time to Villa, and perhaps he sees the future of City as brighter for hima nd club, and maybe a way to cement an England place (at least while Hargreaves continues to be in A&E!).

    Good luck to him, and another good blog Phil!!

    ====================================================================

    Of course I actually meant "nobody would do anything to criticise if he moved to a different company for better pay and conditions!"

    it's hot and sunny and I am sleepy!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Goond on u Barry Poppins! REAL MADRID SPEND MILLIONS AFTER MILLIONS each year! They have been unconvincing in europe and egdey in their league... Just because they achived success in the past... They started spendin money: Its a business, spending money !

  • Comment number 7.

    Its definatley about the money. Fair play, but as Phil touched on he should just admit it.

    Last season he kept going on about he needed champions league football, so a move to Liverpool would have made sense, but as soon as a few million quid is flashed in front of him its suddenly a case of "whats champions league football"? Dont get me wrong, id take the money, but I feel a little more integrity is needed here.

    Another thing I dont get, correct me if im wrong, but didnt Liverpool loose out on Barry with an offer of 18 million last year? If that was the case then City have got a bargain at just 12 million

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Phil

    Everton are getting towards the position where we do not need to sell star players such as Lescott. Even if the lure is too much for Lescott, it would take a very hefty pricetag for Moyes and Kenwright to even consider selling a player who forms such an integral part of our defence. While I agree we have nowhere near the cash available for players like City, I would argue that we can offer European football immediately rather than trying to sign effectively a World XI with a promise that if signed, of potential Champions League football. City have a large number of obstacles to overcome first, not least getting a better manager (sorry City fans, but Hughes hasn't done anything for you this season - Eriksson would have done a much better job)

    As for Barry, he may very well have been smart and realised that he is likelier to get first-team football at City rather than Liverpool. And even then, as seen last year, Liverpool getting him depended largely on them selling Alonso, which never happened. What's to say that the valuation of Alonso wasn't met this summer either?

  • Comment number 10.

    I don't mind Barry leaving, I don't begrudge Man City fans for being excited about their future. I do, however, feel that Manchester City's first pieces of silverware will be the death of football. Even Chelsea have spent moderatley compared to Man City, I hate to sound like a little kid, but it's just not fair. Sure, it's great for Man City, but in five years time when they win every single trophy, the game will be a laughing stock. No neutral or level headed fan can say that the Arabs at Man City will do anything but damamge to the game.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nice blog Phil.

    The only point I would take issue with though is where you say that you think Barry would do better to admit it is money that attracted him.

    I don't see this and I don't see that what someone is being paid by a moneybags employer is our business at all.

    It is very easy to make a case to say that the next couple of years at Man City are likely to be more rewarding, in a football sense, than at Villa. You mention that Benitez came in at the last minute? Any evidence of this or is this unsubstantiated point made just to support the argument you had decided to make.

    Good luck to Barry I say.

    May I ask, did you get a pay rise when you joined the BBC from your previous employer? You may say you joined the BBC to get closer to football (I am assuming that you came from local news, apologies if I am wrong) similar to Barry getting closer to earning medals with Man City. A pay rise just sweetens the deal surely?

  • Comment number 12.

    Its normal for a player to be attracted to the riches of Man City, but if City make good transfers there's a great chance that they could reach the Europa League or even the Champions League next season and his move from Villa won't be seen as such a bad idea, good luck to him for the future.

  • Comment number 13.

    To my eyes, Barry now appears only as a foolish mercenary. I"m not saying he shouldn't have made the move but under the circumstances of last summer (his claim of wanting to play Champions league football) and then returning to Villa with his tail between his legs only to leave now for a club not even in Europe, I think looks pretty bad.

    I genuinely believe that City will struggle to qualify for the Champions league before the end of his 5 year contract even with all their money. Will he even be in the starting line up in a few years if they continue to bid silly money for the players of a higher calibre? Doubtful.

  • Comment number 14.

    We are here in this world for two things money and birds.Barry went for money........n the rest falls into place!

  • Comment number 15.

    #7 kevthered83

    There does not seem to be any evidence that Barry was offered a team next season playing Champions League football. If that is correct, then Barry is going to a team that has as much chance as anyone, probably more in fact, of making Champions League football the season after next.

    Also, the reason Barry has gone for £12m as opposed to the £18m on the able last summer is that Villa turned down £18m at that time whereas at this time, Barry only has one year left on his contract, therefore, could walk away for nothing in another year. (At which point he might have commanded more money from City, ironically.)

  • Comment number 16.

    why is it that football commentators cannot see past money and wish manchester city well

    comments like " This is Manchester City remember, and their history shows that if you offered them a mile they would happily take an inch. "
    do not help

    we are a great club , with great fans and now we have great players

    get used to it , city will challenge for top honours within a couple of years

  • Comment number 17.

    so what if its about the money. doesnt mean hes lost his ambition.
    i am a liverpool man and i dont see anything wrong with this for barry. hes served villa for 10 years so they should give him a break.
    what did they expect him to do.? as i see it he had 3 options!

    1- stay with villa for another hard/long season fighting for 5th with spurs, city and everton. plus a europe league run.

    2- wait for liverpool or arsenal to actually spend some money and come in for him.... wouldnt hold my breath!

    3- go to city, set ur self up for life financially and maybe ( i mean who nows who else city could get) be part of something huge!

  • Comment number 18.

    #10 bilsim

    I understand your negativity, but, if the Chelsea example proves one thing is that money can help, but it does not guarantee success. You can only play 11 players at once. Also, Chelsea's best players over the last six seasons have been Terry and Lampard. Both were there before Abramovich.

    Also, there will always be players who wish to play in Spain or Italy. Also, also, Real Madrid have found a way, through rampant commercialism, to buy big players and make them pay. Therefore, Man City will not ever have it all their own way.

    Ok?

  • Comment number 19.

    To MrBlueBurns...hello to all from Almaty. I actually say in the blog that human nature being what it is, who can blame Barry for taking the offer from Manchester City?

    It is simply at odds with all Barry has said in the last 12 months. It was either Villa or a Champions League club - at least until City came in.

    Word from the midlands today was that Liverpool did check out a deal, but it was too far down the line for anything to change.

  • Comment number 20.

    "After all if he was just a normal run of the mill worker, nobody would do anything but criticise if he moved to a different company for better pay and conditions!"

    Hmmm, that is the most ridiculous thing to say with regards to footballers...

    In a run of the mill job, employees don't have thousands of people chating your name every week and who are essentially (at least partly) paying your wages. No one would bat an eyelid if some one move from say BT to Vodafone for an extra 5 grand a year because that happens in "normal life"

    Barry is a footballer, he's already a millionaire, he's already set for life, he earned more in one of his 10 years at villa as most "run of the mill" people do in their life time. He lied to Villa fans, left a club in a better position than Man City (Immediately) a team in itself builidng nicely for the future and did so even when there was a possibility of a move someone who could have offered champions league football-hes sold himself out essentially and in the nature of his employment where devotion is expected to be repaid with a modicum of loyalty, what he did was a bitte pill to swallow-after all I don't recall seeing him as a regular starter for England before Martin O'Neil......

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil

    I hope Almaty is nicer than the UK this afternoon.

    Anyway, 'word' from the midlands is hardly concrete is it. If Liverpool missed out, that is their hard cheese. Barry may have stated last summer 'champions league or Villa' but things change in sport, perhaps more than in most other businesses given the fickle nature of sporting competition and short windows of opportunity for athletes.

    I note that you 'forget' to comment on my last paragraph. ;-)

  • Comment number 22.

    would you believe it.
    a blog about Barry and phil still has pops at Liverpool

    firstly, who said Alonso isn´t happy? you? Benitez doesn´t have to work out a way to keep him at Anfield. Alonso´s contract will do that for him. and if he is tempted by Real, does that mean he isn´t happy. i mean god forbid Sky try to get you on their books phil, does that mean you´re not happy at Auntie? i didn´t think so.
    regarding last summer, MON was the one causing the problems and he tried to hold Liverpool to ransom over a few pennies. constantly blabbing to the media. again though the sensationalist blogers had to produce a story.
    and Liverpool didn´t get near Barry this time? why is that? probably the same as why United or Chelsea didn´t get near him. we didn´t want him.

    anyway, good luck Barry. i like him but glad he isn´t coming to Anfield. will be interesting to see if he gets into the CL with City or if he will just be retiring when they have a chance.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well I'm glad that means Barry isn't coming to Liverpool...but if Alonso does go we'll be in trouble. Javi Martinez could be a potential replacement but he'd need time to settle and we don't have that.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why must it be that there is always a presumption that money is the main lure for all players wanting to change clubs? This blog goes even one step further to demand that Barry admit the alegation! It's ridiculous!

    Who has the better chance of playing Champions League football in the 2010/2011 season, Aston Villa or Manchester City? Manchester City, clearly.

    And please can we stop using the excuse "But Manchester City aren't even in the Europa League!" By spirit, neither are Aston Villa, lets not forget that Martin O'Neill rested virtually every first team player in the Uefa Cup last season to concentrate on achieving 4th in the Premier League, did he not stop to think what might happen if they didn't finish 4th? Clearly Aston Villa can not expect any one of their players to give their all for the Europa League as their manager sees it as unimportant. The lure of Uefa Europa League football can hardly be used as a serious reason for Barry to stay.

    Clearly, the option for Barry was Manchester City or stay; given that ultimatum and the fact that he will be 29 by next summer, I believe he has chosen very wisely.

    Regarding Xabi Alonso, it has been widely reported that he is very keen on seeing out his contract with Liverpool, not that he is "disaffected". The only speculation that has arisen is the interest of Real Madrid and that of Carlo Ancelotti.

  • Comment number 25.

    Phil,

    I'm a Gooner - and I read your comments with interest about us being "comfortably 4th" out of the 4.

    If you'll take it I'll offer you a £10 bet right now that Arsenal finish HIGHER than 4th place in the Premier League next season.

    You might laugh...... but I'm deadly serious. We'll finish 3rd at worst, probably 2nd at best.... I still think United will keep Ronaldo and Tevez and be too strong for the rest again.

  • Comment number 26.

    i agree with comment 4... i hate chelsea and now man city they have no identity as clubs anymore!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Villa were never offered 18mill by LIverpool otherwise they would have sold Barry last yr. They were offered 15mill.

    BLUEBURNS-it is reasonable and fairminded to assume that Barry went for the money having said he would only join a CL club last year. Stop defending the indefencible.

  • Comment number 28.

    Everything about this transfer is hipercrticial! It is a player selling out, there is no other way of looking at it. I used to rate Barry highly as a player and as a stand up person off the pitch, I now see him with not a hint of integrity left! Absolute shocker on his part...

  • Comment number 29.

    Reading Barry's letter you could almost feel sorry for him...but then its kinda full of contradicitions in itself

    Man City-Fresh new challenge
    Villa-Exciting young team, best chariman and manager..going from strength to strength

    Man City-Good long and short term plans
    Villa-5 year plan to get into Europe-Already ahead of schedule, chances of CL football can't be that far away from Man City's...a team that has gelled (unlike city for the coming season), mix of youth and experience, some really class up and comers..likely to strneghten where we need strenghtening...close for most this season..

    Man City-World cup coming up, can play regularly in my favoured position
    Villa...Erm club captain, played almost every game this year, likely to do that every season until retirement

    Doesn't make sense (unless of course you look at wages side of things)

  • Comment number 30.

    Move was clearly about the money. Hopefully Lescott has more sense, Everton will finish well above City next season (with Yakubu and Arteta back). I any case Jags is the better player if anyone was looking to sign a defender but they know they are better off where they are....City have no soul and they are managed by someone waiting to try and be manager of their arch rivals.

  • Comment number 31.

    #20 DrVilla

    An employee of BT or Vodafone is still being paid by their customers, probably more so than an employee at a football club given the reducing percentage of a football clubs income from gate receipts and simple merchandising. (More and more income coming from corporate sponsorship and the sale of media rights.)

    If you believe there is a difference because of passion and the will the excel, then you cannot criticise Barry for having similar attributes.

    You can't have it all ways.

  • Comment number 32.

    just written this on the thread this blog has replaced but...

    l don't give barry any credit for staying at villa as long as he has - the main reason for that is no one was particularly interested in him up until a couple of yrs ago.

    Barry is a good player not a great player and if the man city project stalls for another couple of yrs he will slip back into obscurity. The irony of his transfer is that to achieve the heights that he and city aspire to city will probably have to buy better players than barry.

  • Comment number 33.

    Barry will move in January to Liverpool when Man City aren't doing anything. That is unless he wants starting XI football and a bursting wallet of cash. Can't see him lasting long though; hopefully he'll see sense and move to us!!!!! (hopefully)

  • Comment number 34.

    City can pay big wages all day long but it doesnt gaurantee success. Just look to Newcastle, for a few seasons now they always pipped Everton to signing players because they offered more wages, but I am a much happier Blue than all the Toon Army put together. Buying a new first team doesnt work, it didnt work for Real Madrid, how many medals did Beckham, Owen, Zidane & co get?.

  • Comment number 35.

    And Alonso MUST STAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Barry probably wasn't interested in playing on Liverpool's left wing and sometimes at LB, beacuse that is what Rafa had in mind and offered him. Benitez had no real intention of selling Alonso last summer, he just wanted to motivate him to get him back to his levels of 2004-06 and it worked - he was Liverpool's best player last season.

    There is little chance Barry could have asserted himself in the centre at Liverpool ahead of two infinitely superior players, Alonso and Mascherano, and that would have harmed his chances of starting in midfield for England come the World Cup.

  • Comment number 37.

    As a Villa fan extremely sorry to see Barry leave, after he said "For the rest of my life, Aston Villa will be the first result I look for." I can forgive him going. I am also pleased to see that he had the sense not to go to Liverpool, it would have been a nightmare working for the waiter. And he has gone to a club that still has much to prove and in the short term at least is still probably not a contender for a top four place yet (and therefore arguably less of a threat to Villa, see below).

    Arguably because without Barry, unless MO'N has something up his sleeve to replace him, which I doubt, then Villa are clearly weakened. And at least this deal has gone through early, fast, without rancour and with enough time for Villa to do something.

    But if all they do is recruit players of the same calibre as Heskey (at this stage of his career as he is, not as he was) then I do fear Villa's forward progress is over.

  • Comment number 38.

    To citymikeok I am only 49 yrs old so I cannot remember when City were great.

  • Comment number 39.

    May I remind all the critics that are slating Gareth Barry for moving to Man City of a few things.As well as aiming for a club that is likely to be playing Champions League football Gareth also needs to safeguard his place in the England squad because,in case you have forgotten there is a World Cup next year.If he were to go to Liverpool there is every chance he would be just another squad player and in order to stay in the England squad he needs to be playing regular first team football.When you consider how long it took for Gareth to get into the England squad in the first place I don't think he will want to do anything that would put his place in the England squad at risk,especially with the World Cup coming up next year!

  • Comment number 40.

    I wonder if Barry got paid his 'loyalty' bonus this time around.........


    good luck to him and City but the money in the game has got stupid and football is heading inexorably to a European Super League and it's death as we have known and loved it.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't think Barry is a good player at all..he is very overrated and he doesn't deserve that amount of money at all

  • Comment number 42.

    come on , city have in practice stopped another great player going to a top 4 team therefore stopping them for strenghtening , if city can get stronger along with , villa and everton and truly threaten the big 4 then surely thats good for the premiership as if threatens then big fours gaurenteed income from champs league that they need to ensure that continued monopoly of the english game,chelsea , united and liverpool have all spent big to stay where they are , city are only doing the same to rry to close the gap yet many find that offensive and a threat to the premiership, when has a poor club ever won the premiership , the title has always been bought by other clubs

  • Comment number 43.

    As a villa fan, i have very mixed feelings...
    On the one hand, i'm thinking 'Fair play to Barry for moving...would you be able to say no to £25-26,000,000??', and the fact that he has given 12 years service to the club. He has been a model professional for most of that time - so wish him well...
    On the other hand, im really bitter, and i'm be happy to admit it. Yes, Barry has been a colossal servant to Villa. But it hasn't been all one way. MON has made turned him from an international fringe player to a seasoned regular England player. It's Villa that has given him the platform to perform, and gain the reputation as one of the best Midfielders in the league. It is MON and Villa that have him a free role to play and proove what an excellent player he is.
    He has said in his 'thank you' statement that he didn't want to leave last summer because it would have been under a cloud...if im honest, I think Villa fans would have been pleased for GB to leave to Liverpool - after all, he made it quite clear it was his dream to play in the CL! (He said 'Villa or Champions League'!!! Where does MC fit into this?)
    As a Holte End season ticket holder, I hope he does get a good reaction when he visits Villa Park, but the way he has gone about things, Im not sure that he will. Yes, he has been an excellent servant to Villa, but Villa and the fans have made him the player he is today.
    I think he has taken a huge gamble joining City - they have the money, but they have a second rate manager who is yet to proove himself. He has already spent £96million so far - so he is under huge pressure to perform. I don't mean to dis-respect City, but it certainely isnt a forward step for him.
    Villa are a club with a 'proud history, bright future'. We will move on from GB, and £12mil is a good price for a 28 year old midfielder.
    Good luck to you Gareth, but I think you have made a genuine mistake.

  • Comment number 44.

    #27 rotter82

    Let's consider the evidence shall we.

    1) Has Villa received an offer from a club that is competing in the Champions League next season? Answer - no evidence of this.

    2) Has Villa received an offer from a club that gives Barry a better chance of competing in the Champions League sooner than his current club? Answer - in my opinion, yes.

    Does Barry stay or does he go? Answer - he goes.

    Why oh why there are so many people sitting at computers (and therefore nowhere near being a footballer comparable to those in the top echelons of the game and no where near the running of clubs) who think they know better, I just cannot understand.

    Just consider the facts rather than what you think as an outsider looking in to a world that perhaps you don't know the workings of. I am not defending the indefensible, I am applying logic, not just ranting as we hear so many lumoxes do down the pub after a few bevvies.

  • Comment number 45.

    All this nonsense about City 'ruining' the game is only a repeat of what was said when Abromovich bought Chelsea and splashed the cash.

    Get real people, it's been about little other than money since Jack Walker bought Blackburn's title.

    I've been a City fan since Don Revie was centre forward, these are the most exciting times since our purple patch in the late 60s early 70s.
    So it's our turn again, leave off the childish resentment.

  • Comment number 46.

    Interesting comments by blobbing02 seemingly assuming that the current top four will always be the top four.

    I'm sorry to see that they have remained pretty static for the last few seasons but it won't always be that way, despite the excessive financial bias of the CL and Sky to the status quo.

    I was sorry to see Liverpool end up doing so well (and surprised at their sudden ability to score goals, hidden for so long!) when they started badly, were flattered with more points than deserved after many seasons of mediocre football. I did expect them to finish 5th or 6th, I was sadly wrong. Also Arsenal have only achieved 4th this season by default. Chelsea will only continue there with the Abramovich effect and Man U are heavily in debt (as others) so sooner or later (after Sralex?) that will catch up with them.

  • Comment number 47.

    I dont know what all the fuss is about. If Barry wants to go for the money, who can blame him. My biggest concern at Villa is who we get to shore up what clearly is a very poor defense especially now Larson has retired.
    For the record, I do not think Barry is the key player at Villa anyway. Ashley Young is, and with Barry closing in on the big 3-0, its not a bad time to cash in.

    Lets not forget the John Gregory era. Buy over priced 30 something players that we never got a return on when selling them off to Albion or Sheffield 3 years later. This is definitely good business for Villa although I am sad to see Barry go.

    One final point, Man City will not get into the Champions League this season. Mark Hughes is not the man for the job and you cant build a team of that size in one season.

  • Comment number 48.

    DrVilla, surely you aren't being serious about anything? If some new employer offered you stupid money to do the same thing each week that you already do, and you already fancied a new personal challenge anyway, would you take it? I bet you would.

  • Comment number 49.

    pietrodelroberto - I hope you're right about Lescott. Money can unsettle players & if Barry says "look at the size of my wad" (probably double Lescott's wage) Lescott might be tempted. Clearly Moyes will do everything he can to keep Lescott, especially as Jagielka won't be back for a good slice of next season. At Everton, Lescott is guaranteed a place in a team that'll be challenging for Champion's league place & if he maintains any sort of form he'll be in with a good shout of spending next summer in South Africa.

    As far as City is concerned buying Barry is a sound move, he's a good player & just the type to push the club forwards. I reckon Villa might struggle to get a replacement for Barry, this problem + the lack of decent centre halves could make things difficult for them next season.

  • Comment number 50.

    There were stories, unconfirmed I should add, suggesting that Barry himself was unhappy with the way his proposed move to Liverpool dragged on last summer and this slightly altered his position on a move to Anfield.

    Good point about regular football in his best position in a World Cup year, something he may not have got at Liverpool with Rafael Benitez's rotation policy, but surely he would have got that at Villa?

  • Comment number 51.

    Asides from money which seems to be the main objective here it would seem barry's thought maybe he can forge some sort of successful dynasty at City. Alot like Maradonna did all those years ago when he went to lowly Napoli in the Italian league or Alan Shearer at Blackburn. The difference is Man City have billions to spend.
    It is sad though that football has come to this. Earlier in the season we were talking about astronomical sums of money that Man City were willing to fork out... £100 million for Kaka with £600k wages a week... Yes hes a brilliant footballer but surely nobody can justifiably be paid that amount of money.
    The amount of money at elite clubs disposal is probably enough to wipe out third world poverty!

  • Comment number 52.

    Excellent Blog once again Phil to which I do not want to directly respond.
    What really makes me frustrated is, the snide remarks mainly against Man City and Chelsea with the money association.
    Capitalism runs business in this country and anybody who thinks otherwise is just plain stupid.
    Football is big business. We (i.e. the Supporters) have made it that way. It's us that buy season tickets, replica shirts, SKY telly and £5 hamburgers at half-time. If you are going to blame somebody, then take a look at yourself, not Russian or Arab Billionaires.
    They just buy a good bargain when they spot one. Just like Harrods and Mohamed Al Fayed.
    This is not a recent thing. It's been going on for decades. I'm sure there weren't too many Gooners complaining in the 1950's, when they were the richest club in England and winning everything!
    If you are truly unhappy with top English football, then start going down the local rec and watch Barchester Tornadoes and stop whingeing.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'd love to City become competitive to thev Top four, but hey are going about the wrong way.

    By all means by three or four players but no more, any team struggles to gel with that level of change, players are pushed out and perform accordingly and there is normally one signing in that lot which will fall flat.

    Everton will resist any move for a player unless they offer the riduclous sum which will allow them to buy two.

    So if City offer between 25-30m for Lescott, then they will probably take it. Jags and Yobo are going nowhere, so I can see the logic, Rodwell can play there too.

    I thnk Barry was wanting away and to be fair City were decisive, Liverpool dithered badly last year and failed to land their man.

    Lets hope City build patiently and don't miss out developing a team

  • Comment number 54.

    I have plenty on friends in the Brum area and most if their are opinions are to be representative then Villa as team won't miss Barry.

    They often complained his the majority of his passes are backwards or sideways and his lack of mobility with Petrov left Villa as one trick ponys with Milner and Young

    Maybe Villa have their eye on a replacement unlike last year, David Bentley anyone? (I didn't say a good replacement)

  • Comment number 55.

    Of course the cash is a factor and why wouldn't it be. However Barry was well paid (set for life?) at Villa and it's unlikely he moved solely for the money. As a neutral, good luck to him and I'd do the same given a chance. However two things do spring to mind:

    - With the money City have, it's not unexpected that they will overtake at least Villa into Europe next season, with perhaps a shot at the chmpions league the year after. If Barry DOES want Champions League football, he probably has got more chance of getting it at City than Villa. Why not move to one of the big four, then? I don't think he'd get into the ManU or Chelsea midfields, or Liverpools if Xabi Alonso stays. He may get into Arsenals but they are most at risk of dropping out of the Champions League if City get in and its World cup year so he wants to be playing regularly......

    - Several Villa fans have criticised Barry because Villa CAN offer him european football next season. However, Villa were also in Europe this year and doing rather well until they played a second team in a fixture and got knocked out. Maybe he thinks that if that's the way Villa treat the Europa League then he's better trying to get in it with a different club, one that will be able to assemble a squad that can compete on more than one front?

  • Comment number 56.

    "Barry, however, will also know that the financial factor cannot be removed from the equation in this deal and it would do him credit if he actually admitted it."

    You might want to re-think that one.

    Do you really believe that the City fans would be pleased to here him say he didn't really want to play for them but the money was too good.

    And what of Benjani who said exactly that and was not exactly "given credit"

  • Comment number 57.

    Of course players are financially motivated. It is absolutely ridiculous for people to pass judgement on players for trying to get the best in life for themselves and their family.

    Gareth Barry has been offered a wage that would guarantee the financial stability of his family for the rest of their lives. Why would he not want that?

    How many of the critics would turn down a job in their own chosen career that doubled their salary? Get real.

    He has given Villa the majority of his career and what did he get back? Nobody can blame him for moving to us.

  • Comment number 58.

    I don't get it. Don't get it at all. Fair play Manchester City have the cash to become a force in football. But this isn't going to happen overnight. They've had the cash for a year now and purchased the likes of Robinho and Given but not only have they failed in making any notbale strides towards their ambitions, they have done WORSE than they did the year previous in terms of league finish. Barry will be lucky if his new club are challenging for the title before he hangs up his size 9's. It's a work in progress. It's not like a Chelsea situation as they had already secured Champs League football before Roman A come along. This is going to take years. And all in the world cup year. Wouldn't be suprised if Barry becomes a squad player and dropped from the England squad. Ridiculous.

  • Comment number 59.

    at the end of the day... if he choses money over playing for a clud that loved him thats his choice... give it two seasons and City will sign so many players Barry will just rot away in their reserves bathing in his £100,000 a week.

  • Comment number 60.

    Let's consider the evidence shall we.

    1) Has Villa received an offer from a club that is competing in the Champions League next season? Answer - no evidence of this.

    2) Has Villa received an offer from a club that gives Barry a better chance of competing in the Champions League sooner than his current club? Answer - in my opinion, yes.

    Does Barry stay or does he go? Answer - he goes.

    Why oh why there are so many people sitting at computers (and therefore nowhere near being a footballer comparable to those in the top echelons of the game and no where near the running of clubs) who think they know better, I just cannot understand.

    Just consider the facts rather than what you think as an outsider looking in to a world that perhaps you don't know the workings of. I am not defending the indefensible, I am applying logic, not just ranting as we hear so many lumoxes do down the pub after a few bevvies.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Blueburns

    Exactly why are you judging everyone else? It is perfectly reasonable to expect someone to stick to their word idf the say something. Otherwise why say it? Of course its fair to assume he went for money. 100,000 per week is more than 3 times the average uk annual salary meaning 12 weeks work for Barry is equaivalent to that of the entire career salary of a UK worker.
    Which is exactly the point? The people on computers do not see it the way of a prem footballer and why should they?!

    As far as Liverpool is concerned we know they bid 15mill last season and we dont know if they would have come back in because City flexed their muscles on day 2 of the window. It would also be very fair to assume that if Barry saw out the last seaon of his contract at Villa which he could have then LIverpool and probably Arsenal would have snapped him up on a free and CL football would have been guaranteed in season 2010/2011. And there is absoloutely no guarantee of that at City in 2010/2011. I'd say Barry had more choices than those you have outlined. Why dont you follow the logic?

  • Comment number 61.

    leaving aside the monetary debate here, which has been covered by everyone else, i have another question.........

    where do people see him fitting into the Man City team? Especially considering they went out and bought Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong over the last season, who surely also play in the same position as Barry would (albeit Kompany can also play centre of defence). Are they going to be left like most people's Championship Manager teams, with too much quality all over the park not playing and players not happy about this? Not all players are happy to pick up their pay cheque each week for doing nothing like Bogarde.

  • Comment number 62.

    #51 yourbustingmyballs

    Yes hes a brilliant footballer but surely nobody can justifiably be paid that amount of money.
    The amount of money at elite clubs disposal is probably enough to wipe out third world poverty!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As #52 itsgonnabeablueday points out, this is capitalism and does not break any law. Who says what is justified? If someone wants to pay a footballer x no of pounds then that is there business.

    Football at elite clubs and world poverty? Remind me the profits that, for example, Tesco and BP made last year. You will find that when all is said and done, football is quite small compared to big business.

  • Comment number 63.

    Gareth Barry was at Villa 12 years and has never played in a major international tornament, or a champions league game, why should he think thats going to change in the next 12 months? If he went to Liverpool or Arsenal he wouldnt be guarenteed to play every game, and that will put his place on the plane to SA at risk. He's gone to City cause he knows he'll play every week, and that the top class players are looking ro bring in can make him look at better player than Villa's could, where he was the talisman making them all look good. I for one am delighted City didnt make the Europa league, i didnt like being in it last year, and think its needless extra games that hurt you in the long run, if its not Champions league its not worth the extra hassle, maybe Barry agree's. I'm not saying he's not happy with his new pay packet, but alot of players move to clubs who pay them more than there old one did, thats not always the ONLY reason they leave.

  • Comment number 64.

    I know it isn't strictly football, but...

    "This far-flung Eastern outpost is only 200 miles from the Chinese border and also edges Kyrgyzstan"

    Why on earth does it matter if Kazakhstan borders Kyrgyzstan? Is it some great secret of which only you are aware? :P

    Wish Gareth Barry all the best, but wouldn't it be amazingly ironic if Villa got into the top 4 next season without him - I for one hope they do :)

  • Comment number 65.

    Lets put things in perspective here. Barry stated he needed to be playing Champions League football by the start of this season. He has just signed for a team who finished 10th.

    As a Villa fan I can't deny that City have a huge amount of potential, ambition and money, so ideally to make steady progress they need to be aiming for 6th this season, 5th the season after that (because that in itself is a big step now) and then top 4 the year after that.

    If that's the case, then how on earth does this benefit Barry who by that time would be 32 (nearly 33) and probably one of the first to be replaced by a really world class player?

  • Comment number 66.

    Point one - Gareth Barry was rich before his move to City. There's rich and there's greed. Not many footballers can escape the greed tag while we're all scrimping for next season's season tickets.

    Point two Personally if I was in Gareth Barry's shoes I would have been much happier to have been regarded as an all time Villa legend rather than destroy a link with fans who have adored him for season after season because now he looks like a fibber. What happened to the one club man? (there are a few exceptions I know). I would want to be someone like Tom Finney who is still adored by the whole town of Preston to this day! Football at the top isn't generally played by fans anymore it's played by mercenaries who are not out for the team, they are only out for number 1.

  • Comment number 67.

    "history shows that if you offered them a mile they would happily take an inch."

    Get a new line please. For what you're payed you might be expected to come up with new sayings now and then, not just repeating something you mentioned about Newcastle...twice previously to this blog.

  • Comment number 68.

    Arsenal on the margins of the top 4? Already forgotten last season? Where we were leading for 3/4 then finished 4 pts off the top because Eduardo broke his leg. The main reason we did so poor this season is because Fabregas was out for 4 months and we had a whole host of other injuries. Is that also why were lost only 1 game in the pl in 09 and did a lot better than Utd and chelsea in the big 4 ''mini league''. All we need now is a tough tackling midfielder to partner Fabregas and a new CB to partner Gallas/Toure.

  • Comment number 69.

    Gareth Barry is applying a touch of realism at 28 years of age. Good player as he is the Liverpool saga last Summer probably brought home to him the fact that he is not in the very top drawer. So does he stick with Villa who find themselves in the UEFA Cup again or does he chase the money whilst he has the offer? Given the inevitable discovery by a small squad that the UEFA Cup is a distraction in the Spring it does beg the question as to why clubs bust a gut to get into that position only to throw it all away for the prospect of the next 3 points. Realistically Barry will be playing in the UEFA Cup again in 2011 when he is 30, the attainment of a top 4 place by City is not feasible. His game will not greatly suffer as time goes by, if you have no pace, you can't lose it. He does right to take the cash and I wish him well.

  • Comment number 70.

    very liverpool-biased piece. who says money before ambition?

    who are more likely to be in the champions league in 2 years - multimillionares city or liverpool who cant even scrape the money togeather to even start thinking about a new ground, let alone new signings?

    he'll fulfill his ambitions and have the money.

  • Comment number 71.

    Gareth Barry has given us fantastic commitment and service for over 10 years. I am sorry that he is going... but I am glad he is leaving early in the transfer window. We needed to expand our tactical repertoire on the field; without Barry in the frame there is an opportunity for fresh thinking, AND time to replace him.

    I hope that our fans will give him the respect he deserves when he returns to Villa Park next season. I also hope we'll completely humiliate Manchester City on the field as a response to the assumption that 'money buys you success'.

  • Comment number 72.

    We might all in general have romantic notions of a football club building up from nothing with the support of a local community, and that the same club will win trophies with players born within a stone's throw of the ground, but it just doesn't happen. City have got a load of money. So what! Real Madrid are preparing to pay a record fee for Kaka, but nobody is criticising them, and for why? Because they are a club with 'history'? It's all nonsense. From a footballing rivalry and mickey-taking point of view I hope City spend big and win nothing, but if they do win trophies with Gareth Barry and anybody else they might care to purchase then good luck to them and their fans.

    If anything it will keep English football interesting.

  • Comment number 73.

    Hmmmmmmm should be the title of this blog Phil - and there are some disappointing notes in here from you which I find unusual.

    1) Barry's move to MCFC is money; anyone not seeing that is blind (fair play I'd do the same if I loved money more than my job)! 2) As a Liverpool fan, I'm happy as a pig in poo we didn't get him as AVFC blatantly wanted to rip us off - and I think Riera is a much better player. 3) If you think we're goning to struggle to keep Alonso you're sorely mistaken. 3 years left on his contract, one of the best LFC players this year shown by the fact he made it into several pundits teams of the season. He and Rafa have said no-go, so what's difficult to understand about that please tell me?

    Make no mistake about it, Man City will not break into the top-four for a few seasons yet despite their financial muscle. Yes they have been there before as ECWC winners, but it takes time and Chelsea, for example, have still not won the Europen Cup - hense the appointment of Ancelotti.

  • Comment number 74.

    I am very happy in my job and earn a good salary but if someone offered me double or treble what I am earning now for doing the same job then I would not hesitate. Why should Barry

  • Comment number 75.

    Phew! Thanks City. For one minute i was starting to think that Arsenal were genuinely interested in him. Hes an 'average Joe'. Great deal for Villa though. Barry won't make it to the CL with City. It'll maybe be 3 yrs or so before they get there, by which time he'll be peripheral or have been moved on. Still, he gets his last big cash deal i suppose, so good luck to him.

  • Comment number 76.

    Basically Villa are going nowhere, and City have more ambition. Simple as that, City will finish above Villa and his decision will be vindicated

  • Comment number 77.

    Nicely side-stepped phil concerning Barry's protracted transfer saga last summer. It was protracted because of MON's ridiculous evaluation. Why then should Barry be peeved at Liverpool? You worked at the Echo, you must know Tony Barrett, speak to him about the leak, he'll put you right. Or is it easier to join in with the Red Top consensus?

    I love the way you can turn a blog about Barry contradicting himsel and turn it into a back-handed swipe at Liverpool.

  • Comment number 78.

    So Barry's gone for the Pension Package rather than the football. Retirement will be so much easier and will come so much sooner for him.

    And City are going to buy the PL and CL? Well that remains to be seen. They seem to be prepared to buy anyone at any price. There's even talk of 34 year old Ze Roberto, rememebr him?

    It leaves the question of who's actually doing the buying and selling at City, is it Hughes, surely he's smarter than this scattergun approach. If he's a real manager who will deliver long term success to City he'll need to be. Is it the owners? In which case when this hodge podge of an overpriced squad inevitably fails to gel will Hughes be the first out the door?

    Look at the way Chelsea screwed it up. Abramovich spent loads of money, got Jose in, then the first time they weren't sitting in the no 1 spot in the PL, Abramovich got rid of Jose. BIG MISTAKE. Since then Chelsea have been generally 'unsettled' and have won....well the FA Cup.

    I can see City going the same way. If they don't win the PL or at least qualify for the CL next season then maybe Sparkie will be next on the Chelsea manager merry go round, cos he won't be at City.

    Look at the genuinely succesful clubs in recent times. Man Utd and Arsenal and now Liverpool. Commitment to a manager, handing him control and responsibilty is the only way to run a football club. Not some oligarch playing fantasy football in unlimited funds cheat mode.

    As Shankly said - A football club is made up of three groups of people, the fans, the players and the manager. The owners are only there to write out the cheques.

  • Comment number 79.

    Congratulations to Gareth Barry. Randy Still-Learning is never going to pump up the cash that Man City can. Barry is entering the last 4-5 years of his career and will now get to play with mega-stars like Robinho rather than Marlon Harewood.

    Worrying times for Liverpool who missed out. Xavi Alonso was undeservedly messed around in the last 12 months and will no doubt be picked up by another EPL team in the top 10 or Spanish / Italian team as a result of this dissillusionment... leaving the kop to cheer on Babbel, Pennant and Lucas.

    Top three next year: 1. Man United, 2. Chelsea, 3. Manu-Dabi City

  • Comment number 80.

    Lets look at this from an England point of view - seeing as it's on an international blog.
    At City Barry will play about 10 to 15 games fewer next season compared to at Villa due to no Europa league. Will Barry be the only one of the probable regular England midfield not playing in Europe next season ?
    Is this not a good thing - less knackered when the world cup comes around. Personaly I think so. I hope City buy a few more England regulars and rest them on thursday nights next season.

  • Comment number 81.

    If City chuck enough money at the problem then they will qualify for Champions League at the end of the coming season or next, probably at the expense of Liverpool or Arsenal who are the most vulnerable to a club with City's resources. I don't know how much it will take but total spending of about £200m would probably be enough. It cost Abramovich about £600m to buy the title and the Glazers about the same although they bought a club complete with players rather than a club and adding the players. Just making 4th will be a lot less. Spending the money well and buying a team not just individuals might influence how much it costs but not the central premise that a deep wallet buys success.

    Villa and Everton have no chance now and to be honest I doubt Spurs do either. Newcastle of course are in the wrong division. This season jsut past, with Arsenal severely constrained by property speculation, was the best opportunity for a different team to gatecrash the top 4 through old fashioned team building. With City it is now 5 into 4 and the pattern of the best players from Everton and Villa being hoovered up will continue. Not just because the rich clubs covert the players but because weakening potential rivals before they have a chance to seriously challenge is good business. This may also start to happen to Spurs who cannot compete on wages with any of the top 4 and City.

    Barry has gone to one of five clubs that might deliver his ambition and he's getting a fortune to do so. Sound decision on his part if you ask me and I doubt sacrificing the UEFA Cup or Europa League or whatever for a season played any part in his decision at all. Frankly the days when it was the more challenging competition to win are long gone. Unfortunately I am old enough to remember those days when it was jammed with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best teams from all the big leagues

  • Comment number 82.

    # 79 - can i have some of wot ur smoking please

  • Comment number 83.

    To 68 " If Only" If only me dad had boobs he'd be me mum. If Everton had an uninjured Yakubu/Arteta/Jags/Anichebe/Vaughan we would of finished 4th not Arsenal and won the FA Cup but we didnt.

  • Comment number 84.

    Nothing new about an individual moving jobs for more money, in fact its pretty much the norm. That he should admit it, seems a little unnecessary. Why should he admit it. He was trying to be loyal to Villa fans before he moved, and he's trying to be loyal to City fans now. He has no compunction to be honest with journalists, Phil.
    As for City coming into some money, big deal. Money has talked in football for years, with the rare exception. Look at the history of the biggest transfers and you will find it filled with the winners of the majority of all the silverware ever handed out. That City will enter this arena due to the funding of a new owner, seems to be viewed in a negative light because he is not English. Abramhovic is still viewed as an outsider, but strangely the American owners of Man Utd arent? Smacks of something to me.
    Regarding Liverpool and Alonso. The fact is Liverpool didnt buy Barry, and Alonso, despite a miriad of claims remains a Liverpool players, distinguishing himself throughout the season. His dissaffection has never been proven, indeed his involvement in diffusing the Carragher, Arbeloa rift at West Brom, showed the opposite. Liverpool dont have money to spend, thats for sure, so Benitez ambition to improve the team will depend on selling, but I think he would be letting Alonso go very reluctantly, and it would have to be a big number.

  • Comment number 85.

    I find it bizarre that some people on here seem to be criticising fans who actually feel a bit nostalgic and romantic about passing of the beautiful game. Phrases like "the world moves on" and "money talks" and "it's just the way things are now" seem to be the currency of 'fans' who support the moneybags clubs.
    It is they who should be lampooned, not the traditionalists who support football for the love of the game and not to see their team 'buy' silverware.
    The Chelsea fans at Wembley in the FA Cup were an absolute disgrace to their club as they sat quietly and patiently in the afternoon sun waiting for their £200 million+ team beat 'lowly' Everton whose fans sang themselves hoarse for the entire afternoon. If that's what money does to club and its supporters I know which team I'd rather support.
    So City and Chelsea and Man U and Liverpool fans, I know you will feel great picking up trophy after trophy in the years to come bought with mega-bucks...but real fans feel sorry for you, I promise you that is true.
    Because it seems you fans, much like the clubs you 'follow' know the price of everything but the value of absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 86.

    i dont blame barry for moving, but it was unexpected i supose that he went to city. where will he play? they already have de jong kompany and zabeletta. i dont think he is better than the first two but he is left footed. i wonder who is going to be left as a squaddie on the bench with zabeletta

  • Comment number 87.

    Great Blog

    Let's be perfectly honest here, Gareth Barry is a player who has been holding out on a deal like this for the past season. He didn't go to Liverpool but then came out and said he would go at the end of the season if Villa did not get Champions League football which we didn't
    But why go to a team, where he may not get in the team ahead of Ireland and De-Jong and Kompany and not play at all in Europe.
    Well Done to O'Neill for getting a good price on an over-rated player who has shown he is only in it for the money. Hopefully the cash from Barry and some extra money Lerner will put in will give us a chance to spend big on players such as Van Der Vaart, Bentley, Huddelstone and Owen

  • Comment number 88.

    Mr McNulty, one of the main things i like about the BBC, is honest impartial reporting on facts. Last night, i read, watched and listen to tens of reports about Kaka signing for Madrid while the BBC commits it self to honest reporting. And while the BBC commits it self to honest reporting, you decide to tell us about a little rumour you heard "There is even speculation Benitez made a renewed bid at the death of this deal".

    Anyhow, the main issue: Barry is guilty for not "admitting" the financial factor as you put it, is total nonsense. Blunt honesty is an equivalent to stupidity. in today's world, one must be diplomatic. And i am quite sure that if Barry did "admit" to the financial factor, you article would have had a worst heading.

    as far as i am concerned, he did not test positive for drugs, nor does he dive and cheat, he has not been accused of rape, he didn't stamp a cigar in a youngster's eye etc.... He is a player who gives it 100 % every-time, spend 11 years at one club, and now fancy a change. Liverpool (your beloved club) wanted him on the cheap and Arsenal, United, and Chelsea made no offers for him.

    Why don't you just come out from the closet and tell us who you support so we can all be assured that your reporting IS HONEST AND IMPARTIAL.
    I am quite sick of people taking cheap digs at City, and every player they sign, it is like a propaganda war against us.

  • Comment number 89.

    PS There seem to be Liverpool fans complaining of lack of funds here...don't forget the millions upon millions Benitez has had up to this point guys. He buys and sells players like Arthur Daly does with cars! He spent over £40million last season alone! Hence why included the club in my above rant.

  • Comment number 90.

    He was already being paid a'decent' wage im sure... he could have gone to a champions league club and got a pay raise, which I would not blame him for, but he is not.

    He had three options

    Stay at Villa and be hero with a bucket load of cash

    Join a CL team and have 2 bucket loads of cash and play CL

    Join ManCity and have numerous buckets of cash with no guarantees of European football

    I think he picked the wrong one... no offense to Man City, but he is 29 and needs to play CL now! Its not like he's going to be skint playing for Liverpool or Arsenal!

  • Comment number 91.

    "No neutral or level headed fan can say that the Arabs at Man City will do anything but damamge to the game" So... money is ruining the game, only one or two sides can actually win anything etc . You mean you only just noticed!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    Journalists hypocrites City try and sign Kaka Its the ruin of football when he goes to Real Madrid what a wonderful signing. City have ambition and money.. For years the top four have had the monopoly on champions league money woe betide any club that should try and break that monopoly and lets face it as Villa and Everton have proved you need money to make a permanent break into that top 4. I for one would like to be a legend at a club that hasn't won anything for donkeys years than jumping on that go to the top clubs thats the only time you will win anything band wagon. Tell me any fan that doesn't want the money City have got at least we are doing it properly we still have academy players in the first 11.

  • Comment number 93.

    Man City fan here, glad GB is joining but think we will qualify for CL only in 2011/12 season so GB will have to wait two seasons - IF Hughes gets the right players and make them gel. That is not guaranteed - look at Real Madrid and the galactico project.
    No-one is complaining about our new foreign money TorontoRed, like you say that is the norm these days. We are debating GB's motives. He should be financially secure for life now anyway so could have joined one of the Big 4 on lower wages and immediate CL football had he so wished.........

  • Comment number 94.



    'Liverpool........did not get near a player.......'. Utter nonsense from McNulty again. Liverpool did not persue Barry because Benitez has other players he has prioritised in mind. Barry was not even approached by Liverpool and it was this lack of interest from his former suitors that left Barry with no choice other than to seek the best possible financial deal he could get. This is no criticism of the player, what else could he do given the options confronting him, but McNulty reflects the pig ignorance of some 'journalists', with anti-Rafa agendas, who will give the most bizarre slant to this denouement to the Barry saga.

    Dumb Blueboy Phil then goes on to muse about Liverpool losing Alonso. After the quotes and assurances about Alonso's satisfaction and contentment with Liverpool and the manager's unwillingness to sell the player, this blog proves that McNulty is not just a shoddy journalist but a total balloon. Like so many others of his persuasion, the inherent racism of his tribe springs to life whenever he is confronted with anything that Benitez says or does: no foreigner can be taken at his word in Phil's little world.

  • Comment number 95.

    Man City spent millions in the last year - to no avail. Money alone will probably not guarantee a CL spot.
    They would have to spend hundreds of millions, which they might do, but still I dont believe that will be enough.
    As for Gareth Barry, he's just another pawn in this power play, good players reduced to bargaining chips. There's no integrity here.

  • Comment number 96.

    87

    Spend 'big' on Bentley, Huddlestone and Owen!

    Blimey, if thats Villa's ambition from the top i can understand GB wanting out. All 3 are rubbish and past it. You might spend big and get Villa relegated!

  • Comment number 97.

    76 wrote'Basically Villa are going nowhere, and City have more ambition. Simple as that, City will finish above Villa and his decision will be vindicated'
    I disagree. I'll bet City cant break into the top 5 next season, no matter who they buy....

  • Comment number 98.

    Outstanding blog as always from McNulty.

    Part of me does feel though BArry did serve his time at Villa and at the business end of his career needs to play for the most likely team thatll get him a medal. We live in a league now where its so uneven Ryan Giggs has 10 premiership medals where 98% of players cant reach a League Cup semi final.

    Chelsea won the cup final Saturday a further nail in the coffin of a game which was once beautiful, equal, and contestable. Truth is it can be fixed and only the fans have the power. Champions league watered down to one team per country, salary and signing on fee caps in the Premiership, foreign player limits. All of these would save our game but money talks and for another decade we will see £££ win our souls. Wenger and Moyes must be heart broken as theyre far superior to Mark Hughes.

    Proud blue, wouldnt trade Man City's money for Lescott, Moyes, the fans in the Gladys End or what it felt like to really enjoy being in a final. Chelsea fans have become so out of touch they didnt even appreciate being there. Follow, follow, follow

  • Comment number 99.

    #94

    Rafa tried to do the dirty on Alonso last summer. Maybe Barry looked at the Robbie Keane 'My Dream Move' outcome and saw how imcompotent and disloyal your gaffa is. With no interest from Man Utd and Chelsea, the relasitic title contenders next year, Man City makes total sense as Everton and Villa can not match there summer power and ambition.

    Barry - smart move.
    McNulty - Superb

  • Comment number 100.

    To MorpethExile...Manchester City fans have every right to celebrate the way they are going to go about their business this summer. Why shouldn't they? They have had hard times, but now they are one of the richest clubs in world football.

    Any other club in the Premier League would be elated to find themselves in City's situation and don't let them tell you any different. Why should they be concerned by jibes from other clubs that they are throwing money at it?

    But there is another side to this approach.

    It will be an intriguing start to next season because, make no mistake, there will be huge focus and pressure on City and their manager Mark Hughes.

    As well as buying Robinho, big money has been spent on Shaun Wright-Phillips, Vincent Company, Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong and others. Results will not just be expected, they will be demanded.

 

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