Up until today, I had nothing but respect and admiration for Gareth Barry.
His loyalty to Aston Villa was highly commendable and rare in today's time. I actually believed that Barry had the chance to be one of those few players who play their entire careers at one club and become an iconic figure for them.
I WHOLE HEARTILY believed that when Barry wanted to sign with Liverpool last summer, it was for a chance to play in the Champions League, not a fatter pay packet.
When this Premier League season ended, I thought to myself: "With Aston Villa adding a few pieces, they could make a solid run towards the top four this coming year. They should build off their progress of the last two years, and with Martin O'Neill and that group of players, they could be onto something special."
That was, until I read the reports: Gareth Barry had signed for Manchester City this afternoon. And, none the less, for a 12 million euro bid, less than what Liverpool were offering Aston Villa last year.
Gareth Barry, not only have you now made me look stupid, but you have made yourself look stupid.
Barry's claim last summer was that he wanted to move to Liverpool or Arsenal for a chance at European glory; playing on the biggest stage amongst the biggest of opponents.
So, how does moving to Manchester City give him an opportunity to play in Europe?
City are not even playing in the newly-minted Europa League (previously known as the UEFA cup). That puts Manchester City AND Gareth Barry at least ONE full year from European play.
One can only believe that Barry's move to the Eastlands is all about money, given that City's new owner has plenty of it, and he isn't afraid to spend it.
Does this hamper Aston Villa?
Not as much as people would believe or are worried about. They have midfield depth with Steve Sidwell and Nigel Reo-Coker, both able to play the CM spot.
If anything, this 12 million is now a luxury to Marty O'Neill to go plug in other holes through the backline and add another midfielder to the mix.
At the end of the day, one must realize that greed is a sick disease. Aston Villa can live without Gareth Barry but can Gareth Barry live without Villa?
So say good bye to the good time's Gareth, you just sold your integrity away along with your "European Dreams." Have fun making money, because there won't be much else you'll be doing there at City.