Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday June 3 2009
Gareth Barry has written an open letter to the Villa fans in the Birmingham Mail explaining his decision to leave. Quite why he didn't do this through the official site I have no idea, it would have been the appropriate medium surely?
Barry thanks the fans for their 'incredible support' over the last 12 years and says the club has been a 'huge' part of his life.
'A lot of things have changed in that time, players, management and a chairman - but every season bar none, whether we have been bottom half, mid table or challenging for Europe, the support myself and the team have received has been fantastic.'
He says his biggest regret is not bringing the fans the success deserved and says he takes his share of the collective responsibility for the fact we've not been good enough to bring home some silverware.
Mystifyingly he adds, 'I feel the club is in the best position it has been in during my time here, I think we have a group of very good young players, we have a fantastic chairman who is here for the good of the club and one of the best managers in the game.'
So why did he choose to leave?
'I have honestly been very undecided what to do, the manager and the whole club have bent over backwards to try and persuade me to stay and made me a fantastic offer which I am extremely grateful for. But, after changing my mind lots of times, I came to the decision that the time was right for me and for the club to part company. I need a new challenge, I have a massive fear of going stale and falling into a comfort zone.'
He also says he thinks the deal is good not only for him but also for the club and says Martin O'Neill will no doubt use that money to strengthen the team. What he doesn't realise is if you lose a player of his quality, it isn't easy to bring in a replacement!
And on City:
'I am also excited now about my new challenge, a lot of people will question my decision to join Manchester City, but they were the club prepared to meet the valuation, which for a 28-year-old with a year left on his contract I think shows how much they wanted me. Once I had spoke to Mark Hughes there was nowhere else I wanted to go, I was also desperate to avoid any long drawn out saga.
He also feels City will 'seriously challenge to win major honours. People might doubt that, but I am convinced with the plans the club has short term and long term.'
So he obviously doesn't feel Villa can do so? If not, why not?
He knows that 'Time will tell if I am right or not, but those are my reasons.'
He also adds that he has 'grown bored' of the press talk and rumours and is sure that the Villa fans have also, 'I am glad I never left last summer because I would have left under a huge cloud. This year I feel things are different, I haven’t used an agent. I have discussed things with my best friend [agent Michael Standing] but ultimately made my own choices.'
'I believe the situation has been handled properly by everybody involved. Once again I have to thank the manager and the club for that. I genuinely wish the club all the best for the future and want to thank everyone who has helped and supported me in my time here.'
He ends the letter:
For the rest of my life Aston Villa will be the first result I look for.
Thanks for everything.
Originally published in The Birmingham Mail
Date:Wednesday June 3 2009
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