As the Beautiful South sang, ‘funny how quick the milk turned sour’, and this has certainly been the case with Gareth Barry. The former Villa captain has gone from hero to zero in the space of a few short weeks, with his transfer to Liverpool (or maybe Arsenal) seemingly no closer to happening now than it was ever before.
It’s not clear whether it was at the player or manager’s insistence, but The Times report that the England midfielder turned out for the reserves on Tuesday evening, as they took part in a five-goal thriller against Walsall. Although there can’t have been too many Villa fans there, those that were made their feelings known.
Supporters who thought they had seen Barry play in a Villa shirt for the last time, after he made public his desire to join Liverpool at the end of last season, jeered their former hero when his name was announced and practically every time he touched the ball in the first 45 minutes.
This was Barry’s first match since he captained England for the second half of their 3-0 win away to Trinidad & Tobago on June 1, a game in which he also scored.
Cries of “Judas” and “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” alternated with chants of “Martin O’Neill” as the Villa faithful made their sympathies all too clear in the opening period.
Although it’s always difficult to have sympathy with millionaire footballers, it does appear that Gareth Barry has been unlucky to find himself in this situation. In normal circumstances, a player hands in a transfer request, there is an interested party and a deal is brokered. However, with the two clubs consistently failing to strike a deal, the player is set to stay in limbo for the foreseeable future.