Writer: Mike Field
Date:Tuesday July 8 2008
I was wondering when we would see the start of articles like this, but the recent 'defenses' of Barry were never really strong enough to get the fans back onside.
After all the arguments, the failed bids, the stupidly sanctioned article in the NotW, Barry is almost in no mans land.
And has been said plenty of times, what does happen if Liverpool and Tom Jones fail to meet our valuation. Some Scousers suggest we'll simply accept a lower bid rather than have a £40 odd grand a week player rot in the reserves.
Not so - I think it's perfectly likely that O'Neill would take such action against a disruptive player who unfortunately decided to reinvent the phrase 'throwing your toys out the pram'. It is simply now known as 'doing a Barry'.
But it's also equally likely, that if Barry was man enough to say the right things in private, say the right things in public and return to acting like the professional and well mannered player he has always been, that O'Neill would be prepared to forgive and forget.
Afterall, O'Neill forgave Berger before the gobby one before he relapsed into insanity.
So with August drawing nearer, Liverpool's offers still failing to meet our valuation, could it be an interview today by Martin Laursen is the start of a focused - forgive and forget PR campaign.
Laursen has spoken before in similar terms, but this is far more focused on remembering the good times than previously.
Speaking to the Sunday Mercury, potential future captain Laursen said:
'Gareth has played some wonderful football for 10 years for this club, is a great player and a regular for the England squad.
'He has done brilliantly for the last two years. That is why his price is higher now.
'It is sad it is ending the way it is for a player that has done so much for this club.
'I can only say that I am sad the fans are angry with him now because they have to remember how much he has done for the club and he has been a really good player.
'With his quality and the goals he has scored, I don't think the fans should forget that. I hope they will keep that in mind.
'Of course, I understand the fans want to keep their best players.
'But we are talking about a guy who has been here for 10 years, played over 300 games for the club, became the youngest player in the Premier League to play 300 games.
'He has done so many good things for the club and hopefully the fans will remember that.'
Well, yes we will. But we'll also remember his behaviour throughout this episode. I posit a guess that had he not sanctioned the NotW interview the deal may well have been concluded by now.
But after an act of stupidity like that, there is no way Martin O'Neill will compromise.
Players thesedays need to remember, criticising a club or the club's management is an indirect attack on the fans whether they mean it or not - it's how it's taken.
I would imagine the only forgiveness that will come for Barry is if he was to play his heart out for the next two years by way of an apology and gave us an Agent Ridgewell moment on any eventual move.
Fans never need to like a player to support them when they play for your club. Very few players get the chance to be liked when they play against your club.
With more patience and a bit more maturity Barry would have been in that envious position. As it is, forgiveness is unlikely to ever happen - but if it does, it will never be forgotten.
Date:Tuesday July 8 2008
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