Aston Villa - Who is the Clever Strategist Over Barry Saga?
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Who is the Clever Strategist Over Barry Saga?

Who is the Clever Strategist then?

Have you noticed how quiet the Barry to Liverpool saga has gone in the last few days? It is beginning to make me wonder if the fat Spaniard really does want Barry at anything other than a knock down price.

I now seriously have my doubts. Yes, if MON had rolled over, and accepted a ridiculously low bid then Benitez would have been delighted and snatched our captain away amid triumphant fanfares. But MON and Randy are made of sterner stuff than previous Villa administrations and are not looking for the quick buck. They have, quite rightly, demanded a fair price for a player who has captained England and was outstanding for most of last season. So the deal has stalled.

We all know that, thanks to their new owners, Liverpool are in hock up to their neck. In addition they are losing touch with the three teams above them in the league and are in serious danger of being replaced in the top four by none other than Aston Villa. So what do you do?

As a senior manager of many years standing I know what I would do in that situation. I would seek to disable my competitors. How? You do it by setting out to cause legitimate and legal disruptions to your
competitor's efficiency and competence and by trying to poach the key performers from the other team. Big business is cut-throat and so is premiere league football.

That is precisely what Benitez has done. Regardless of the fact that Barry may eventually move to Liverpool Benitez has done his job. He has caused unrest and distress among what was becoming a superb footballing unit. MON has now had to undertake a full rebuilding of the side, because whether he is still a Villa player come the 1st September or not, it is questionable whether Barry will ever perform as well for them again, even if he is let back into the team.

Plus, the rebuilding that is now taking place will mean, realistically, that it will set the team cohesion back at least some months. It will take that time for the new players to gel with the others and make a
really functioning unit.

Nett result? Villa will no longer be the threat that they were becoming towards the end of last season and Liverpool will cling on to fourth place by the skin of their teeth. Fitting two or three new players into an established playing pattern is one thing, changing the way a team operates and settling them down is another problem entirely. That is the problem that MON now has to cope with.

One other thought on this subject, the fact that Barry wants away from Villa has, whether we like it or not, reduced our credibility in the transfer market. Again, who is the winner? Why Benitez and Liverpool of course.

Who is a clever little fat manager then? It stinks, but sadly it's legitimate business practice!


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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 22 2008

Time: 12:31PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Very good read.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 12:52:00

Intersting slant. I think as far as Liverpool are concerned the only option they have now is to hold out until the very last minute and hope then that we will cut our losses and take 16m rather than leave an unsettled player in the squad. An "impending event" it's known as in industry! I really hope that Randy and MON stick to their guns and keep Barry not least to show Agents that they can't just move on their players when they need a share of a signing on fee.
Silver Fox
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 12:52:00

What is this rebuilding of which you speak oh FEARful one? Don't you have to sign someone to rebuild?
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 12:53:00

This is interesting as Liverpool are now trying to unsettle Robbie Keane at Tottenham, who most would say are another threat on their 4th place spot. If this theory is correct we can expect Liverpool to announce their interest in Everton's Tim Cahill before the end of August.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 12:56:00

I'm not so sure Liverpool are being that clever about this. I just think that Gerard has pulled some strings in an attempt to get his bum chum at Anfield. Has this supposed clever ploy helped stop Everton or Portsmouth in their assualt on top 4? No - LFC even sold Portsmouth Crouch, who IMO will make them regret getting rid of him. Also the world can see they are broke, and so all of their speak about David Villa and Keane and Barry is shown to be empty. They simply don't have the funds for those three, and they appear to be struggling to buy even one. Truth is they now appear to be a smaller club than 3 years ago, struggling to afford the players they want. I admit they've done a number on unsettling Barry - but truth be told, Gerard and he are friends and conversations were probably had all last season at the England camps. I don't deny that rebuilding the team must occur, but that would have had to happen even if the deal had been done 8 weeks ago and amicably.
The Usual Suspect
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 12:58:00

I think we've done this one to death. The way I see it is that Barry won't put in a transfer request, because he'll stand to lose reward for 10 years service. They have offered 15m over 3 years. I think their plans got messed up because we backed out of an option to buy Carson in exchange for Barry on the cheap, coupled with the fact that Alonso isn't leaving.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:20:00

its a good read but everton are their nearest threat, and no-one has tried those tactics with them.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:26:00

To be absolutely honest, I think Liverpool are looking up, not down. They finished closer to United than Villa did to Liverpool I think (I may be wrong). I've said before that MON was the first one to come to the press with this story, I think three days in a row he went to the papers and made Liverpool's bid public knowledge. He knew he was losing Barry and wanted to drive the price up, which he has every right to do. However, he may have over extended his hand because nobody wants him at that price. Wenger won't come in for Barry for that sort of money, basically, the way the market is, nobody other than Chelsea has that kind of money to spend on Barry.
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:28:00

I am not even certain that Benitez has the management skills and know how to actually plan the strategy that has occurred. But regardless, planned or not, the effect is the same. Remember, he had to let Crouch go to raise some funds to try to strenghten an ailing side.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:29:00

Thank you Little Dutch for giving us the Liverpool POV, the biased POV of course in which we really aren't interested.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:45:00

LD, We have had weeks of this talk and with all due respect you are only talking about a small part of it and there is a lot more than meets the eye going on which you don't know about. Liverpool are looking up but only in their goldfish bowl. No-one else thinks that they will do well with their squad. Take away Gerrard and Torres and they are really poor. However, if they get Barry and Keane they may be a force to be reckoned with. Seems as though Rafa (the fat moustachioed toad) has given up buying all these foreign imports and is now using tried and tested premiership pro's.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:46:00

Wow Mr Fear...Senior Manager of some years standing? Master of the cut and thrust of big business? Tell us should Never miss a chance to big your self up.... and I thought all you did was moderate this website;-)
talbot the top
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 13:47:00

A few points in answer to your theory The Fear, "In addition they are losing touch with the three teams above them in the league and are in serious danger of being replaced in the top four by none other than Aston Villa" Liverpool are closer to Manu, the league winners, than Villa are to Liverpool, so why would we need to disable Villa? "have, quite rightly, demanded a fair price for a player who has captained England and was outstanding for most of last season" That's your opinion, and the opinion of Villa, most neutrals think 18 mil is too much for Barry, even some Villa fans think the same. Finally, " I would seek to disable my competitors. How? You do it by setting out to cause legitimate and legal disruptions to your competitor's efficiency and competence and by trying to poach the key performers from the other team" If that's the case then that is what Villa are doing to Blackburn. They only finished two points behind Villa last season and you tried to buy Bentley, one of the key performers for them. I don't think Rafa is trying to buy Barry just to destabilize Villa, he's trying to buy him because he's a good player. It's that simple.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 14:40:00

oh good, a barry article. I been missing this soap opera so heve been consoling myself with old episodes of Brookside. As for the fat spanish waiter I hope the powers that be at villa are building a dossier like spurs with fergie and we present it to the FA as soon as we receive our £18m.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 14:43:00

jonah, Little Dutch is a neutral, he's an Arsenal supporter. He's not giving you Liverpool's point of view.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 14:43:00

rebuilding was required regardless of whether liverpool came in for barry or not. i wouldnt say we are exactly destabilised by this one event but our position has become precarious because of the dangerously low levels the squad has been allowed to get down to in the last few years, which has not been helped by an unexpected bid for barry.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 14:51:00

If he's an Arsenal supporter then he's not entirely neutral is he, as per his wenger and overpriced comment.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 14:55:00

JohnDoe, something else that is that simple. You want one of our players you pay what we want for him, not what you want to pay for him.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 15:02:00

I too got the impression LD was a gooner. Er JohnDoe you mention the bentley thing, that is completely different. Villa made a bid and didnt go all public with the intention to unsettle the player. We made a bid, they value him higher, we walk away. MON says he is too much for us, we move on to a new target, unlike Liverpool.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 15:29:00

Is that JohnDoe with his LFC rhetoric I hear in the distance?? So LFC are whiter than white are they? You talk total piffle!!!! You have made yet another illegal approach for a player. Cause LFC and Rafa never run to the press do they! I think all your rantings over this have been shot to pieces in recent days JohnDoe. But You still will not accept the behaviour of Liverpool is disgracful...
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 16:03:00

Fear; I agree with every word!!!! The ethics of Liverpool are at best questionable. At worst illegal...
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 16:06:00

JohnDoe when I see your name appear I ignore everything written, just reminds me of Last of the Summer Wine on a Sunday evening. Yawn.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 16:10:00

bloody hell, the official site says Barry may be playing tonight. I wouldn't have thought that'd happen but then it says a number of senior players will be rested so we'll probably have to play him to make up the numbers! Should get an interesting reception.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 16:24:00

"One other thought on this subject, the fact that Barry wants away from Villa has, whether we like it or not, reduced our credibility in the transfer market." I was thinking exactly this this morning. Our Captain wanting to leave really can't have helped attract new players.
Adam Deuce
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 16:44:00

that maybe so, but at least with our small squad they'll know they'll get a game!
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 17:30:00

that's because you can't win the argument KSarge1 ;-) young_jonah, It's not different, you tried to buy one of the key players of a club who only finished two points below you, how is that different from The Fear's point? The fact that Rafa is more persistent with his targets doesn't change that O'Neill tried to do the same thing. gappy, I'm still waiting for the evidence of Liverpool leaking Barry's bid to the press. Yes Rafa named Keane as a target, and he's wrong to do so, but that didn't happen in Barry's case.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 17:56:00

JohnDoe, yet again you make a couple of good debating points (in fact I am sure that you are on your debating team at whichever sixth form that you are at.) Unfortunately although you put comments and statements to back up your points you are arguing for the wrong side and for every one of your points, we have put up ten points to counter argue yours and any neutral regardless of what you say (bar Little Dutch) will agree with us. Liverpool are awful to watch and have been for years ever since the Houllier regime. Granted, you have won a couple of cups in this time but the ultra defensive counterattacking style that you have adopted is woeful and depressing to watch. EVERYONE THAT I KNOW except my Liverpool supporting friends agree 100% with me and I can't understand why Barry would want to play like this (glory hunter.) We will be closer to you this year than you are to Manure and you will never come close to winning the league with the goldfish bowl attitude that everyone else who doesn't agree with you is wrong and you are always right. I suggest that you stop paying for your gold card to Google ( with which you endlessly search for newspaper articles that back up your argument (( normally the Liverpool Echo))) and use the money to watch your team and then watch any other team in the top 8 and you will understand what I am talking about. You will no doubt repeat a couple of the points that we have heard 20 times before and quadruply counter argued successfully about something that you read on google but YOU ARE WRONG. Even your own fellow fans don't back you up so YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN no doubt in your own solitary room not getting to speak to anyone else from the outside world. Open your mind to the fact that you aren't always right and that Rafa has been underhand and that Carra isn't world class and that Gerrard is in love with Gareth Barry so you can't have him to yourself. Should have written an article....
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:16:00

Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:17:00

FFS, Bentley was on SKY saying he wanted out first off. Barry was tapped up and didn't go to the papers until after both Rafa and Gerrard had spoken out in the media . Do you want us to ask your teacher to come over and explain it you drooler. Evidence????? This isn't a court of law and papertalk isn't evidence. AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:22:00

444; a well put arguement to our friend JohnDoe but alas my friend it's wasted on JD alias Tommy The deaf, Dumb and blind kid from Merseyside.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:31:00

JohnDoe; I didn't know you were waiting for me to supply evidence of the leak. TUT TUT! maybe you could do me a favour and look for me, only I work for a living and don't have the time so if you would be so kind to supply me and the rest of the Villa faithful with the evidence that the leak did'nt come from Liverpool we would be very grateful! instead of these endless coments you make without substance.... Thank you!
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:38:00

gappy65, I did supply the evidence. The fact that the journalist who wrote about Barry's bid in the Echo said that his source wasn't from Liverpool is sufficient. You, and other Villa fans, chose not to accept what he says without providing anything that resembles a fact to back up your arguments. Villan444, Villa is a long ball team, a team that depends on set plays to score goals. A team who had fewer passes completed last season than Bolton, AND YOU CALL LIVERPOOL BORING?
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:50:00

JohnDoe, I believe there is a site called vital Liverpool, run along...they might want to listen to your crap but we don't. Everybody knows that Liverpool's approach was underhand and verging on illegal just as their approach for Keane has been. Accept it and move along, you really are getting boring now.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 18:59:00

JohnDoe; I said evidence not hearsay. that my friend is at best rumour and gossip. Which is, I'm affraid what you preach. Gossip and rumour, and like I said without substance. So unless you have something worth saying then don't say it!!!! Now go away child!!
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 19:08:00

I actually said awful, woeful and depressing but you could add boring if you want. MON's second year. Rafa has had twice as long and spent 5 times as much( I am sure you will look it up on google and correct me but thats about right) and you now can't afford to let little Stevie have his bestest mate in the whole world come round and play (sit on the bench.) One team on the way up, the other is going down.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 19:32:00

BUGGER. Sorry, forgot to put by Obediah...
The Fear
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 19:42:00

gappy, It's not heresy, gossip, or rumour, it's what the writer of the article in question says. Deny it all you want, you're only making yourself look more silly than you usually do, and that's saying something. Villan444, It doesn't matter how long O'Neill been managing your club, long ball is the way he likes his teams to play. This is how Leicester played under him, same with Celtic, and now he's doing it again with Villa. Get used to it.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 20:53:00

Bit of a waste of time this article. Barry will be at Liverpoo; next season unless Villa double his wages and match what he's allegedly been offered. That's all that's required to keep him with us for the rest of his career.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 20:57:00

JohnDoe have you seen any villa games? If you had you would see we don't play long ball? It baffles me how you could say such a thing. Do you actually know what you are talking about? No, thought not now run along back to you own board.
Report Abuse
22/07/2008 23:08:00

Sorry, I just don't believe that Benitez is that clever. A smell of a conspiracy theory here - and most of them are wrong. This is simply a manager truing to get a good player for a knock down price. End of story. Add anything else and it is pure conjecture that cannot be proved or tested. Benitez is frustrated by the lack of resources at his disposal and the lack of a suitable job offer to help him escape.
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 01:14:00

Villacross: He has already been offered that and more and still wants to leave.
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 07:59:00

JohnDoe; If what you call evidence looks like BULLS**T, smells like BULLS**T then the chances are it's BULLS**T. evidence to me means it's undeniable fact. What you claim as evidence is in fact circumstantial at best. So please stop using this journo as the basis for your claim to clear LFC of any wrong doing. LFC are wrong, Rafa is wrong and so are you. So please stop insulting my inteligence with this nonesense.
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 08:32:00

Obi-Wan I liked your artical, but suggesting Rafa has no managerial skills is plain stoopid. He may have engineered the Barry fiasco but in all honesty history tells me we would have taken the money a few years ago..... Randy Lerner and MON have made their stand, it says more about Aston Villa and their management than is doe's about a player wanting to leave. They set the price, pay or leave. Cant ask for any more... The management have shown they dont need Liverpools millions as much as Liverpool do!! Obi-Wan you need to write a few more.
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 08:58:00

gappy65, If my evidence is circumstantial then what is yours? The only basis for YOUR claim is the fact that an article about the bid appeared in a local Liverpool paper, even when you refuse to accept the denial of the writer of said article that the source wasn't from Liverpool. That's the only thing you base your opinion on, nothing else. You won't even consider the more likely option that it was Barry's agent that leaked the news in your hast to condemn us. You need to have intelligence for it to be insulted. tonybrum, I have seen a few Villa games last season, not many I admit, and in the ones I saw you were playing long ball. Also, if you see the following link, Villa rank 17th in the league in passes completed last season. That would mean that you don't get a lot of Possession of the ball, and when you do, you mainly use the long ball.,19528,11662_2705370,00.html
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 09:47:00

There's little doubt that the Barry saga has unsettled the club 'big-time', and only time will tell whether MON can steady the ship in time for us to enjoy another season of development and improvement. There's arguments for and against the way we've handled Liverpool's unwelcome approach, some of our actions I applaud, others I think will cause us more harm than good in the long run. I dont give a toss anymore who leaked the initial interest to the media, we've moved past that, that's all water under the bridge. With all the circumstances surrounding Barry's situation at B6, we were right to set a price that we believe to be realistic for his departure, just as Liverpool were well within their rights to say 'We aint paying that'. Barry might just end up being the winner out of all this, with surely a more attractive move I would have thought to The Emirates. Only time will tell on that score, but for now my worries and concerns are for my club. The transfer window is ticking down, and we are not being anywhere near active enough. Sod Barry, Sod Liverpool!
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 10:43:00

Good article though OBEDIAH. definitely food for thought, and puts another whole different slant on the situation.
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 10:44:00

Luckily we scored more goals last season than your team and had 2 of the top 3 creators... another pointless observation like yours. As Mark Twain once said "there are three kind of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics", seems like you hang your hat on all three. So go back to your own site and bore them instead.
Hoss The Villain
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 10:49:00

I tend to agree with col8. I liked your piece, Mr Fear – I hadn’t realised that this level of insight existed on football forums – but it’s all a tad too conspiratorial. Undermining your competitors in the fashion suggested is a complex plot and there are just too many things that can go wrong. Too many factors are not under your control. In general, businesses succeed because they put out a superior product. Every prudent manager worries about the competition but knows that the only thing he has any control over is his own operation. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your stadium. Liverpool FC and some of its personnel have emerged from this affair with seriously tarnished reputations. Benitez must be under some pressure to behave like this - let’s not forget what he’s doing at Spurs as well – and I suspect his job’s firmly on the line. The owners continue to behave like children while the club becomes a laughing stock and finally, Gerrard’s brazen attempt to influence the deal was grotesque. There’s always a price to pay and these events will return to haunt them. There is a difference between football in the Premier League and business which everyone tends to forget. Outside of recessions and slumps any business that is prudent and hardworking can survive and flourish. However, in the Premier League next May three of the twenty teams will face catastrophe. And it doesn’t matter how hard they’ve worked or how courageous has been their play. Heartbreak is their lot. The pressure is enormous and often it shows. Liverpool are in their own relegation battle. From the Top Four. You can see the pressure on Benitez’ face and in his demeanour. If they are fifth or below at the end, Benitez is toast. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke. winston
Report Abuse
23/07/2008 12:40:00


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