Six of the best from the man who said “I don’t want to be eating my own words”
As super-ambitious Gareth Barry finally fulfils his lifelong dream of
playing Champions League football having a rich Arab sugar daddy, OTP looks back at his careful £££ though-process £££ behind the £££ move.
1. “My mind’s made up, I want to join Liverpool. There’s no going back, it’s time for me to move on. I’m desperate to play Champions League football and that’s why I have to leave Villa.”
2. “This year, in terms of England, it has not been a problem for me not playing Champions League football. I have played in the UEFA Cup, I’ve played regularly for my country this last 12 months. It is not the be-all and end-all to be playing in the Champions League but it does help coming into the World Cup playing at the top level.”
World Cup worries are put on the backburner.
3. “There’s nowhere else I would want to be playing at the highest level. It’s easy for me to want Aston Villa to play Champions League football.”
So a sideways move is out of the question, right?
4. “Come next summer, once the speculation starts again, I hope Aston Villa will be in a strong bargaining position. At the same time, I don’t want to be sitting here holding the club to ransom, saying, ‘It’s the top four or I’m off’. It’s about improving and making strides forward.”
Well, to be fair he didn’t mention the top four this summer!
5. “If I’m playing Champions League football, there’s no need to look elsewhere. That would have to be a definite. I don’t want to be eating my own words.”
So if they had finished fourth you would have stayed, but because they finished sixth you had to go to the team that finished tenth?
6. “I hope the Villa fans understand. I have given my all for the club for 10 years and I’m only leaving because now I need to test myself at the very highest level.”
The very highest level of mid-table Premier League football, that is.