Here we go...
Villa v Manchester City and the return of Gareth Barry.
Got to say I'm dreading it. I hated seeing him go but bare him very little malice. I'd have preferred he went to a Champions League team but can understand after nearly 12 years he wanted a change and most especially as he has seen the same players coming in under Martin O'Neill that we have. Now some are happy with the purchases and that is fine, others aren't sure that the right players have been brought in to truly push the top four... maybe Barry was the same?
I don't think, as some have suggested, he was a liar going to Man City. Yes, I'm sure if a CL team came in for him he'd have chosen them over and above Man City but they didn't and he has moved to a club who he could see clearly had the financial power to do what Chelsea did before them, spend spend spend their way potentially to the top.
So our latest poll asks... will you boo him?
I won't but I can understand that some will due to the fact he was a Villa hero and disappointed many leaving. For me he gave us good service - and in return we gave him a great career and helped make him the player he is. Surely if we boo a player, especially one who was our rock for years and to be fair one who left making Villa a good deal of money (£12million) when you consider the fact he was in the last year of his contract and could have just played that out and gone for nothing? Also I have to question what impression we give the current Villa players if we start booing their former team-mate? Do they really go from hero to zero?
Martin O'Neill told the Express: 'I can empathise with Gareth in many aspects because I was at one club for 10 years myself as a player. I’m sure if you speak to him you will find he is pretty pleased with his decision.'
Mon is also quoted in a report by Janine Self at The Sun . Ok, ok, I'm only linking to that one because I'm quoted as well...!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MON said Barry was a big player for Villa and wishes he was still here, adding that he doesn't know what the fans will make of it all.
Meanwhile my thoughts were: 'I think it's a 50-50 split. I'm really dreading it. He gave us really good service and a lot of fans remember that. But there are some who are angry that he left.'
And the bit that might get me in hot water....! 'If I take my rose-tinted specs off, I can see that he has more chance of reaching the Champions League at City than with us.'
Is that a controversial thought? If you weren't a Villa fan but were a betting man, who would you back to potentially push into the top four? The wealth they have gives them a better chance of 'doing a Chelsea' and buying the league surely?
I also pointed out as I've done in the forum thread (click here) that WE are the fans, they are the employees, they move on, we don't... so, do we really need to give him a bad reception on Monday night?
Lets face it, this is football, sanity goes out the window and the modern way seems to be booing, so I think there is the answer. I'm dreading it, the thoughts of such a player being booed by 'his own' makes me cringe, I still say if not for him and James Milner who was on loan from Newcastle at the time, we'd have been relegated in the last year under David O'Leary.
James Nursey in The Mirror has a column saying Villa fans shouldn't boo.
James says: His decision was seen as being motivated by money - not ambition.
But four months on and Barry's choice to leave Villa for Eastlands appears understandable as City are now genuine top four contenders.
Their astonishing spending spree has subsequently attracted big-names like Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Roque Santa Cruz to help vindicate Barry's decision.
The ace himself appears to be one of City's most consistent players and is thriving on a new challenge.
Now the City fans love Barry like their Villa counterparts used to as the player is very dependable.
But I think Barry still deserves the respect of Villa fans.
Full column: click here
Manager Tim Sherwood has spoken of his disappointment - and shouldered the blame - for today's one nil loss to Stoke City.
All the stats from Aston Villa (0) vs (1) Stoke, Villa Park, 3/10/15 Att: 33,189
Statistics, damn lies and Aston Villa..
Bit of a mix and match today from manager Tim Sherwood's pre Stoke press conference.
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