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Gareth Barry and the Liverpool Saga?

Gareth Barry and the Liverpool Saga?

Gareth Barry and the Liverpool Saga?

I have been reading all the threads, gossip and speculation about what is becoming 'The Gareth Barry to Liverpool Saga' and it has set me wondering about the whole concept of player's contracts and transfers.

We have come a very long way from the times, just after the last war, when the football club virtually 'owned' the football player. The Bosman ruling was good for the game overall and good for the players, but, and this is important, players are still required commit themselves to a football club and sign a contract to that effect. And, if the team they sign for is in the Premier League then they are very, very well paid for their services.

However, what is also important is the ethics that are implied by the signing of that contract; ethics that apply to both to the player and to the club. In simple terms when a player signs, say, a three year
contract he makes a commitment and gives an undertaking to play his very best for the club throughout that time. While the club gives an undertaking, to pay his wages and to look after his physical well being during the same period. No doubt there are many clauses tacked on, but I am sure that none of those clauses state that if the player decides he wants to leave he can go at a nominal fee to whichever club he chooses and, in Gareth Barry's case, £10m. is a nominal fee.

There is another side to this contract business as well; suppose the club signs a contract with a player who does not fit into the team ethos or who can adjust to the demands of the Premier League? What then? Well, we have seen several very highly paid players sitting there in the reserves or out on loan taking their massive weekly wages come what may. And, if they don't want to move to another club for lower wages, they either sit there and take the money for the duration of their contract, or the club has to agree a fee to pay up the contract. Either way the player wins.

On one level that is not a problem: being a professional footballer has a short life span, but it cannot all be one way. In my book if someone signs a contract, which may have taken months to negotiate, one makes a commitment to fulfil that contract whatever it entails. The same conditions apply to both sides where that is concerned.

Clearly no-one but MON and GB know what was said in their discussions when MON persuaded GB to sign a new contract with Villa, but you can rest assured that MON talked about Gareth getting back into the England team with his help. I know it is only conjecture, but I genuinely wonder if GB would have made such brilliant progress in the last twelve months if MON had not been around? Frankly, I doubt it.

So why does GB suddenly want to leave Villa Park? Reportedly it is because he now wants to play Champions League football. Do you really think that in their discussions MON promised GB Champions League this next season? No, of course he did not, he knew it was not really feasible in that time scale and so did GB when he signed. With the help of MON and his team GB's game has developed and matured. That is good for him and good for Villa, but why should it be good for one of our rivals, namely one of the so called 'big four' one of whom we intend to replace this year.

If Gareth really must have Champions League football this coming season then it would be perfectly ethically correct for the management of Aston Villa FC to say to him, 'Fine, you can go, but at a fee determined by us and to a team with whom we are not in immediate competition; in other words a team on the continent.'

Think about it! In business many employers insist upon a clause in an employees contract that states that they cannot leave and go to a business rival without a break of say six to twelve months, and that has been held to be fair and reasonable by the courts, so why not in football. If my memory serves me correct, Man Ure did it recently, why can't we do the same?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday May 13 2008
Time: 4:12PM


We can sell him if we want for what ever we can get for him, or we can make him see out the remainder of his two years and let him go on a free. Personally Id like to do the latter but then will he put in the performances he has done for us in those 2 years? I think not.
13/05/2008 16:49:00
Just to say Obediah, I've just written a sports law essay regarding those restrictive 'gardening leave' clauses and for the most part they aren't usually enforceable in a sporting sense. The only case that was successful was the potato head and Crystal Palace but that was because of the risk of the playing and coaching staff leaving to join bruce and the risk of confidential information like player fitness and tactics being exposed given that it was halfway through the season. As far as players are concerned, clauses preventing them playing for a rival club are usually deemed as a restraint of trade and are void as a result. As far as I can see, if GB wants to go Lee Lindsays comments are right, we choose the price to sell him, I'd say at least 15m plus riise who is probably worth around 3m would be about right. However I really hope he stays, but its hard not to get the sense of the inevitable. From what GB has recently said it appears as though he hasn't totally made his mind up, I'm sure the prospect of being involved in a rotation system is a debatable thought considering he's played practically every game each year. Maybe he'll wait until we've made a few signings to see if Lerner really does put his money where his mouth is and take us forward, he'd be virtually impossible to replace if we lost him, here's hoping he stays!
13/05/2008 17:16:00
There is another option for you to consider. According to the new Uefa Rules Barry can buy out the remaining time of his contracts. I don't think Barry will do this but you'll never know.
13/05/2008 18:17:00
That UEFA rule is gonna cause some crap, especially if the club wanting to purchase him, give him a golden handshake to enable him to pay off his contract.
13/05/2008 21:51:00
The whole situation is smoke and mirrors.Of course there is the threat of Gareth wanting to leave, his stock has never been higher.But he is two years into a 4yr contract he signed.He was told by MON he would get into the England side, his game would improve and Villa would get into Europe.Two years later and all of those boxes have been ticked.The bottom line is he is hitting the prime of his career, and his agent has said - right I need to get you and your family the best deal I can.So play it coy, make certain noises and don't commit to anything.If you really want to move we will see if that CAN happen, but if you want to stay at Villa, lets make sure you get paid the going rate.Fair enough I say with all the money in football, if I was a player I would say fine.I pay you 10% as my agent go and earn it.Thankfully Gareth is not one of these d*ck head players that knock about and he knows what he has, what he can be instrumental in achieving at Villa.He wants the club to match his ambition and pay him the going rate.If he does really want to go, I suggest he takes a look at the players who have moved onto top 4 clubs and decide, do I want to play 15 games a season and get a medal and spend my best years warming my arse, or does he want to spend the best years of his career actually playing football and being a part of something special where he is highly regarded.It's his decision, but before he makes it, he should maybe have a word with...Benayoun, Parker,Duff,Wright-Phillips,Crouch and see if they are/were truely happy....Either way the Villa is on the up, and for that I could not be more happy & Grateful to MON and Mr Lerner. UTV
13/05/2008 23:36:00
You can't blame him, possibly his last big contract coming up and with all the money going into football clubs through tv the players have every right to try for all they can. Lets just hope MON's willing to pay big 3 rates.
14/05/2008 00:45:00
Here's another spin on this. The way I see it, it is up to the club to keep him. The only people who can keep him here are Randy and MON and they have to decide whether Gareth is worth pulling out the stops for. That means offering him the wages to stay (80k a week +), a new contract keeping him here for the next 5-6 years, sitting him down and going through the hit list for signings etc etc. If at the end of all that he still wants to leave then good luck and thanks for the memories. But it is no good to anyone if the Villa take the line that he's got two years of his contract left. Market forces dictate how much he's worth and with Gerrard and other England internationals on 100k or more, Gareth must be feeling he's worth somewhere near that figure! That's not to say I don't want him to stay, mind you. I'd be gutted if he went to those bin dipping, whining cpunts (silent p)!
14/05/2008 04:57:00
Some good points on here from posters i do not recognise. Lets see some of these points on the main forum please UTV
14/05/2008 08:11:00
I dont think Barry is worth 80k but think of it like hitzlsperger, we shoulda given him 40/week and sold him on for 4m right away, i would offer Barry 100k a week and still sell him for 18m once he signs or to Chelsea as they would pay more. His head is not in the right place for him to stay at villa, given MON helped him achieve his goal of playing for England I think he has shown little respect for MONs work
14/05/2008 09:19:00
I'm sure GB does realise that MON owes him a lot for making him the player he is this year and helping him become a future England regular, without the other Villa England stars that MON has put on the map i doubt if Capello would have picked him alone. However you can understand his ambition to play in europe especially with England missing out on the Euro's and also to get that final big contract. Sadly Villa have never paid those type of wages but if he stopped for one more season and we did break into the top for it may .... JUST MAY BECOME REALITY...
14/05/2008 11:57:00
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