Team GB will always be a golden hero

Gareth Barry’s reluctant departure from Manchester City was confirmed with just minutes remaining before the transfer window slammed shut last night.

Having revealed to Read But Never Red last week that he was leaving the Etihad for Everton after four very successful seasons, Gareth’s Goodison move finally came through as the Toffees chewed up the deadline day headlines.

The departed - Gareth Barry exits the Etihad as an FA Cup & Premier League title winner

The departed – Gareth Barry exits the Etihad as an FA Cup & Premier League title winner

City’s midfield general will be joining Wigan’s James McCarthy and Chelsea’s Romalu Lukaku on the blue side of Stanley Park, as Roberto Martinez wheeled and dealed right up to the 23.00hrs transfer cut-off point.

It was a hub of activity as Belgium’s most famous marauding mop-head, Marouane Fellaini was re-united with the Gollum the Glaswegian Gargoyle at The Swamp and Victor Anichebe move out to WBA.

Entering the final year of his five-year contract, Barry (32), clearly didn’t fit into Manuel Pellegrini’s plans, having been left out of the pre-season trips to Germany and Finland.

So often the unsung hero in a City side that lifted the FA Cup and Premier League title in successive seasons, Barry’s contribution was appreciated by the overwhelming majority of City fans.

Unheralded and under-rated, Barry only really came to prominence if he gave an under par performance – hence he hardly ever grabbed the headlines because rarely did he under achieve in a City shirt.

The only game of his 175 appearances that readily springs to mind as a shocker was in last season’s abysmal 3-1 defeat away to Southampton. Even then he scored a superb goal with his weaker right foot – the only problem was he inexplicably put it past Joe Hart.

It’s a back-handed compliment but a heartfelt one, because Gareth Barry – City’s one man Team GB – was the consummate professional, certainly not short on talent and always huge on effort and, as we know, City fans will always, but always, love a trier.

Last of days - Team GB in action on City's pre-season tour in Hong Kong

Last of days – Team GB in action on City’s pre-season tour in Hong Kong

A £12m buy from Aston Villa in June 2009, his arrival was a significant building block in laying the foundations for City’s forthcoming trophy winning trail. Bought under Mark Hughes’ managerial reign, Barry was integral in Roberto Mancini’s team, playing 34 out of 38 games as City clinched their first top flight title in 44 years.

Never a prolific goalscorer – he did score at the right end of the pitch eight times in City’s colours – and where better to open your account than Old Trafford.

Barry scored to level the Manchester derby at 1-1, before City suffered an infamous 4-3 defeat in extended double Fergie-time in the most exhilarating of encounters in September 2009.

Fast forward four years and the man with 53 England caps leaves the Etihad after falling behind the likes of Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia in the central midfielder stakes.

The sentimentalists among the sky blue faithful would have liked him to stay, not only because of what he has achieved in the past, but also because he could still do a good job in domestic games.

Never the quickest of players he was sometimes derided as ‘Captain Slow’ an inappropriate and unfair tag. His lack of speed was, nonetheless, exposed at times during City’s ill-fated Champions League campaigns and this probably weighed heavily in Manuel Pellegrini’s thinking.

Sentiment aside, Barry was well down the selection pecking order and with something like a £120,000 weekly pay packet, an expensive luxury with UEFA’s ubiquitous Financial Fair Play regulations ready to bite.

Darker shade of blue - Gareth Barry in his new Everton colours

Darker shade of blue – Gareth Barry in his new Everton colours

City had wanted to sell him outright but, if Everton are paying a seven figure loan fee and all of Barry’s wages, the deal makes economic sense.  Hopefully the days of excess, when City subsidised the salaries of players out on loan from the Etihad, are no more?

Of course there is the added bonus that Barry can further the Everton cause to the detriment of City’s title rivals, so good old Gareth can still play a part – albeit by proxy – in helping City win more silverware this season.

I probably reflect the thoughts of most, if not all City fans, in wishing Gareth great personal success at Everton and in whatever else awaits him in the twilight of his career.Like the proverbial Blue Moon, he will always have a place in our hearts because as things stand he is one of that rare breed – a Manchester City league title winner.

 

 

David Walker

readbutneverred.com

@djwskyblu

 

21 Comments

  1. September 3, 2013  7:21 am by Ian Barton Reply

    Like you Dave I will always have great affection for GB, I think you only appreciate him when you watch him week in week out. A consummate professional, a credit to the game, a Cup winner and a Champion. I hope he rejoins City eventually, NYCFC?

    • September 3, 2013  7:47 am by David Walker Reply

      He'd be a great TransAtlantic ambassador so absolutely - why not? Cheers Ian.

  2. September 3, 2013  7:43 am by Chris Williams Reply

    Gareth Barry will go down as an all time City hero. He's played a massive part in our development and for that should be thanked and respected by all Blues.

    My only concern is that Pelegrini obviously sees more in Garcia than Barry, which is a worry as you'd have to question his judgement in players.

    I wish Barry every success in his future and hope the Evertonians respect and appreciate him as much as we do.

    • September 3, 2013  7:49 am by David Walker Reply

      Agree on all fronts Chris. Maybe the difference with Garcia is that he has three years (I think) on his contract and if he doesn't come up to scratch can be shipped out in Jan or next summer. It's one thing being a Boss model, quite another being able to boss the midfield!

  3. September 3, 2013  7:44 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Excellent tribute David to our very own Team GB.

    • September 3, 2013  7:50 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Andy - we'll miss him because he's been a fixture throughout the re-birth of our beloved Blues. However we look to the future not the past...

  4. September 3, 2013  9:49 am by MoleRocks Reply

    A fitting tribute to a player who helped City achieve so much in the last 5 years.

    I hope he does go on to help NYCFC develop into a top MLS organisation.

    Thanks Gareth for all your efforts in a sky blue shirt.

    • September 3, 2013  10:18 am by David Walker Reply

      Wholly endorsed Carl - cheers fella.

  5. September 3, 2013  10:18 am by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Reflected my thoughts exactly David. I wish him well.
    Cheers. Nev

    • September 3, 2013  10:21 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Nev hopefully he can help Everton against Manure, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool etc and peg them back as City garner the points to win the Premier League.

  6. September 3, 2013  11:06 am by Simon Dear Reply

    Very well put you never know he might drop a few bombs of his own for us at the swamp and take out RVP in the process! . Big thanks to GB for his massive contribution to helping City achieve greatness. He was one of the first 'big' signing successes .. After flops in Robinho, Jo, Bridge & co . I personally will always remember him wearing my City scarf with pride after we won the league on that unforgettable day ( it's ok you can keep it Gareth!! )
    Unsung legend in my eyes.

    • September 3, 2013  2:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Great anecdotes and conjecture Simon - you want to have a go at this blogging lark?

  7. September 3, 2013  2:28 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Remember the criticism (a lot from the other side of Stanley Park) Barry got when he signed for us? He proved them wrong as he walks away from CIty with a FA Cup and PL winners medals in his pocket.
    Thank you for your efforts, GB, and it would be nice to see you continue in another sky blue shirt at New York City FC.
    I'll never forget his howitzer at Bolton in the PL winning season. A good job Richards swayed out of the way of that one!

    • September 3, 2013  2:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, fond recollections from the Reebok 'INCOMING...' Cheers Graham.

  8. September 3, 2013  6:47 pm by PhilM Reply

    Gareth Barry was a great pro and the type of player that was never flashy but always missed when he wasn't in the team. Everton supporters will soon realise what an asset he will be for them. I wish GB every success and sincerely thank him for the massive contribution he made during his time at City. IMO he was our most consistent player during the Premiership winning season and was vital to our eventual success. Lets hope that we see him again at the New York branch!!!

    • September 4, 2013  11:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      I'll go with those sentiments Phil - he WILL be missed but realistically, the GB of 2009 would be properly missed. Great player, nice guy but MCFC evolve and hopefully GB still has some great career moments at #EFC - such as beating Manure, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs etc etc

  9. September 3, 2013  8:32 pm by Doug Reply

    As you rightly say Dave an unsung hero for city never I feel fully appreciated by all city fans.I for one am sad to see him go I just hope MP hasnt made a mistake. Gareth I wish you well & thank you for the part you played in getting city where they are today. To me you will always be a city blue.

    • September 4, 2013  11:04 pm by David Walker Reply

      'Hear Hear' young Doug...thanks for reading and the feedback.

  10. September 4, 2013  7:51 pm by Phil Entwistle Reply

    Dave, as with all clubs certain players divide opinion amonst the fans, GB fits into that category with the City faithfull. Never blessed with any pace he did his job to team orders, helping to create the platform from which would launch our attacks.
    You have to trust the manager and back his decision to allow GB to put himself in the 'shop window' for another challenge in his dotage. As for Garcia, MP must see something in him from his seasons in Spain that he can nurture and bring out the very best in him, after all this is only his second season at the Etihad and Garcia definitely divides opinions as did GB.
    Keep the Faith.

    • September 4, 2013  11:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Phil - very good observations on Garcia - he must have something about him, as you say, it's just will it be revealed at the Etihad or elsewhere?
      Your absence was noted against Hull - umpire duties - OWZAT?

  11. September 19, 2013  4:00 pm by bluewelder Reply

    good to see Gareth having a solid start for e'ton,still a blue.

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