O’Neill says Barry deal is in Liverpool’s hands

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill is standing firm in his valuation of midfielder Gareth Barry, but is finding that Liverpool are too. Villa value the player at £18m, a figure close to what Liverpool paid for Fernando Torres a year ago, and Liverpool quite bluntly don’t value him at that level. Villa have also more or less run out of bridges to burn with the player, having banned him from pre-season training, banned him from all Villa property, fined him two weeks wages and made it clear he won’t be going on their pre-season training camp. This is their club captain, who himself can’t be accused of having stepped out of line at all in the time since Liverpool’s interest was first made public.

That interest was first made public by Martin O’Neill, who had a rant about Liverpool leaking their first bid, of £10m, to the local press on Merseyside. In reality the leak had not come from Liverpool at all, but O’Neill continued his angry response to the interest via the media. Patrik Berger, already set to leave in the summer with his contract at an end, was sent packing early for saying that he thought a move to Anfield would be good for Barry. O’Neill discussed the saga regularly in the papers, and then continued to talk about it on the TV as part of his summer job with the BBC.

O’Neill probably feels he can get one over on Liverpool in the style he did with Emile Heskey when he was boss at Leicester. Liverpool memorably paid an extra £2m for Heskey in 2000, in the days before transfer windows, to get the players’ services in March rather than wait until the summer. O’Neill claimed he had tried hard to retain Heskey, but he did eventually let him go for £11m.

He said at the time: “We as a club did everything we could to persuade Emile to stay with us for as long as possible, but it was his insistence that the deal had to go through before this weekend. The club had been negotiating terms which we felt would keep him here, really pushing the boat out to show how much we valued him as a player with us. But apparently it was not enough. I believe our players will be as bitterly disappointed as I am at Emile’s decision, coming as it does when we have just won a trophy, are looking towards Europe and had put together the strongest squad in the club’s history.”

For all the suggestions in that statement that Heskey had shown a lack of loyalty, four months later O’Neill resigned from Leicester himself, despite having just won a trophy, looking towards Europe and putting together “the strongest squad in the club’s history”. He joined Celtic instead.

Little seems to have changed, in that he made similar noises about Barry, although it’s unlikely any other clubs will be looking for his services as coach this summer. He has now, rather than accept that he may have messed up his hopes of getting a higher price for Barry, decided to send a letter to Anfield.

According to reports the price he is demanding for a player he can’t use again remains at £18m, and although he has now decided he would accept Steve Finnan as part of that deal, he only values Finnan at £1m. Rafa values Barry at under £15m, and Finnan at £2m, meaning there remains a gap.

O’Neill was full of himself again when discussing the deal publicly: “Liverpool have come back to us and we have responded to their proposal with a letter. We’re still waiting to hear back from Liverpool after putting that proposal to them.”

Failing to see that Liverpool will eventually switch to other targets, or just forget the deal completely, he said: “It’s really up to Liverpool. I really don’t know how it’s going to work out at the moment. I’m sure there will be some sort of resolution at some stage or another.”

Villa seem to be extremely low on funds, having been unable to find a shirt sponsor for next season and so instead deciding to give the space away to a charity for the season. The manager needs as much money from Liverpool as possible so he can improve his squad. They’ve already made it clear they can’t afford the £10m fee they had agreed for Scott Carson at the outset of his loan, and are interested in Finnan at their cut-price valuation after losing the player they had been using in that position. If Liverpool did pull out of the deal, O’Neill’s plans for the summer would be in ruins.

One of those plans is for the signing of Steve Sidwell, and at least that one seems likely to go through, with reports claiming his £5.5m switch from Chelsea will be finalised this week. But Villa are short on numbers, with one report claiming only 13 recognised first team players were available for their pre-season visit to Switzerland. Little wonder that O’Neill is trying to force so much money from Anfield. He claimed it was all in hand: “We need players and we know what we have to do. We’re continuing to work on other deals.”

Carson could find himself playing for Stoke next season, according to some reports, but it seems that the newly promoted side’s more genuine interest is in Moroccan youngster Nabil El Zhar.

The traditional summer speculation seems to be driving Liverpool’s Israeli international Yossi Benayoun mad. He said: “It seems the media in Israel and England are in a contest to see who’s more bored during the slow summer months. The media in England published a story that Rafael Benitez told me finally that I’m staying at Liverpool. These reports are the work of the writer’s imagination because, even before the season ended, we determined that I would be staying.”

It sounds like it’s a special relationship between the little guy and his boss: “I have very good chemistry with Benitez. He loves me. He bought me. I really enjoy being with him, moreover, I had an excellent season. I even surprised myself.”

And he says Rafa won’t even listen to offers: “Benitez didn’t want to hear and isn’t prepared to hear about any possibility of letting me go at any price. Liverpool is good for me and it was always clear I want to stay and Liverpool wants me. I got better offers financially but these tempting offers don’t change my mind.”

65 thoughts on “O’Neill says Barry deal is in Liverpool’s hands”

  1. I feel for Barry, but for personal, as well as football, reasons I’d love it if Rafa told O’Neill were to go.

    Like many others have said, Barry is not worth more than (or even the same as) Alonso and O’Neill knows that he cannot keep Barry, as there relationship is beyond repair. Barry is now worth less now than before his public falling out with his current boss.

    So Rafa, tell Villa you want Barry but will not pay more than £13m and leave them to ponder what to do next.

    I know it wouldn’t be fair on Barry but I think our team and the club’s finances would benefit.

  2. I agree. O’Neil is a duplicitous so and so. Just like Mark Hughes, managers bang on about players showing no loyalty and then bugger off to the next paycheck and transfer budget themselves.

    Villa have no players because of O’neils transfer policy and i think their fans are beginning to realise that their manager isnt all he’s cracked up to be.

  3. “This is their club captain, who himself can’t be accused of having stepped out of line at all”

    Must have been a dream that he went to the press slagging his boss off.

    “In reality the leak had not come from Liverpool at all”

    If anyone believes the leak came from Liverpool or Villa then they are fools. It is so obvious the leak came from Barrys agent, Alex Black.

    “Villa seem to be extremely low on funds, having been unable to find a shirt sponsor for next season and so instead deciding to give the space away to a charity for the season.”

    Incorrect. We CHOSE to sponsor Acorns. If we needed the money we would have taken any sponsorship on offer.

    “They’ve already made it clear they can’t afford the £10m fee they had agreed for Scott Carson”

    We can afford it. MON chose not to because of an inflated price for a player who after initially performing well,
    went downhill after his England clanger.

    This article is journalism at it’s worst, full of bias and holes bigger than those that sank the Titanic. Don’t know about Jim,
    more like Stan Boardman.

  4. This article has been written by an idiot. Do you really think Villa couldn’t find a sponsor? You could learn a lot from Randy. You take one of the most charitable things to happen in football for a long time and seek to destroy it.

  5. I agree totally. O’Neill is being ridiculous. What would he do if Rafa can’t match his asking price. He is gona be sitting with a player who doesn’t respect him , even worse it being the captain and star player. I don’t think Barry’s public outcry was unreasonable. How can O’Neill find Liverpools offer under value when he himself hasn’t approached the player with some sort of valuation of his own. I’d love to see Barry come to Liverpool but not at that price. We could just as well keep Alonso and use our funds for replacement for Crouch…maybe Villa..as he in on our list 🙂

  6. I think everyone is missing a point here. Barry is still under contract to Villa and has, I believe, over two years of his contract left to run. At this point in time Liverpool have to pay a price that not only reflects the value of the player (perhaps £13M?), but also represents compensation to the selling club for the loss of his services (an England regular and Captain of the club). It also has to reflect what it would cost to replace him….Bentley is a target at Rovers want £17m….so perhaps £18M is not altogether unrealistic after all. AT the end f the day it is his value to Aston Villa that has to be reflected in the transfer fee…. not so much what Liverpool think he is worth. Come back in 12 months and the fee will be different and closer to Liverpool’s valuation!

  7. This is not journalism its just a Liverpool fan giving a ridiculus and biased opinion.

    If villa were desperate for cash they would have taken 15 million any day of the week.

    Instead with an American owner who actually backs the manager they have lots of money, unlike Liverpool who will have to sell players, like Arsenal, for the next few years to pay for thier new stadium.

    Next time you right an article I reccomend you at least attempt to look at the facts in an unbiased way as what you have written makes you look like a dic*

  8. I see we’re going to get an influx of angry Villa fans, no surprise, we’re all loyal to our own clubs I suppose.

    I don’t mind letting the comments appear, as long as they aren’t abusive or written in text speak!

    I won’t respond to them all either, but I couldn’t resist this:

    Someone called “Shoddy Journalism”, using a fake email address, said:

    “If anyone believes the leak came from Liverpool or Villa then they are fools. It is so obvious the leak came from Barrys agent, Alex Black.”

    So is O’Neill a fool? He said: “It’s particularly disappointing to find out that Liverpool have carried the story in their local paper. It’s certainly not the way that the Liverpool of old conducted business. I prefer to do things with a bit or privacy and a bit of confidentiality.”

    As for his “privacy” and “confidentiality” comments, he’s not stopped talking about the situation since that day. Barry kept quiet, until he did that interview, which I don’t particularly feel was wrong given his boss’s approach. O’Neill is the one who has repeatedly broken the silence on the situation, fighting his battle through the press, and Barry could have said far, far worse I’m sure.

    As for whether Villa have money to spend this summer, well we’ll see at the end of summer, after knocking off whatever they get for players they sell. Although there aren’t many to sell, the players I’ve seen mentioned have been Bosmans leaving for free or loan players at the end of their deals.

  9. If this is the general consensus in Liverpool then god help you all? Villa desperate for money, quite the opposite old chap. It appears your lot are the one’s scraping the barrel. Villa simply dont need to sell and certainly not for a price that suites ‘Pool, why should we. The case has been very clear cut from the start, if you want Barry, you pay the asking price.

    Charity sponsor because Villa have no money? The club give away millions of pounds worth of sponsorship money because they’re broke? Absolutely not. Lerner is a billionaire and a fantastic businessman, the club is financially stable and in very good hands, which is more than can be said about Liverpool.

    As for O’Neill leaking the news himself. Why would he do that right before an extremely important game against Wigan (which we lost!), for our benefit? This is the very reason he was complaining. Liverpool unsettled Barry DURING the football season, very dirty tactics indeed.

    Perhaps Barry may never play for the club again, whether he remains at Villa Park or not. Rather than be bullied by Liverpool and give in to a main rival (yup, you heard right and better get used to it) O’Neill and the club seem prepared to make a stand and give the middle finger. Instead of looking outwardly, Liverpool fans should be looking inwards at their own club, and revisit Liverpool press conferences where this charade really began.

  10. Where has the class that was once your great club gone? You’re now nothing better than northern versions of those equally deluded Spurs fans. Shankly and Paisley must be spinning in their graves. RIP LIverpool FC.

  11. Whilst I understand the obvious acrimony over this transfer. Quotes that imply that Barry has done nothing wrong and that we desperately need the money, are so ignorant its ridiculous.

    Not to insult your intelligence, but a public attack against the club and a member of its staff in the national press could be classed as ‘doing something wrong’. I dont know where you work, but at most companies, this would be classed as a sackable offence. However this is a football club, so the player has intrinsic value so the sanctions that have been applied are probably as strong as they will get.

    Villa are so hard up that we gave away our shirt space because we couldnt find a sponsor. This is laughable as effectively that is what we did 2 years ago when we sold the space to 32Red for 750,000 over 2 years. (Yes the figure was that small) Do you honestly believe that a club of our newly aquired profile would struggle to match the 32Red deal. We finished 6th last year FFS. The Acorn deal was partly as a result of failing to land a deal that we liked (Its quite possible that we may have a deal in place with someone who alreadys sponsors a prem club, whos to know) so the thinking is to give the shirt space away for a year as a charitable gesture.

    The concept of charity is obviously lost on you (strangely) considering the number of disasters that have befallen Liverpool fans over the years and the support you have recieved in return from your fellow clubs.

    Its all very well and good that Rafa has pointed the magical finger at Barry to allow him to ascend to the elite, but we are in no way a selling club any more (Do some research into how much has been spent on the improvements to the training ground, academy, VP surroundings) We DO NOT NEED TO SELL and the sooner you get the message the better. At the end of the day, I would bet all of the money I have that Villas net spend this summer will be much greater than Liverpools

    Considering just how close you guys seem to be coming to failing to qualify for the CL with each passing year (You even came 5th once but the rules were changed, just for you) and just how much your shaky finances are dependent upon this state continuing, it would be prudent to be a little less condescending when negotiating a transfer with a ‘smaller’ club. It could be you on the receiving end sooner than you think

  12. @Villan: I never said O’Neill leaked it. What O’Neill did was turn a story in the local press, without quotes, that could be ignored or played down as rumour, into a true story. Although most Reds would have taken that particular writer’s word for it, it was still nothing more than a story in a paper. How many speculative stories do we get every summer? O’Neill gave it credibility, he admitted there had been a bid, and he did it in anger – it seems – without checking his facts.

    As for Villa having money to spend this summer, where is it? Who are they spending it on? And knock that £18m Barry money off first, if you don’t need it.

    As for LFC unsettling Barry, do you genuinely believe that Barry picked up the paper that night and until then he had no idea? And if you do, do you not think it mad that your boss confirmed the story just in case anyone thought it was a rumour?

    I think it’s pretty obvious in football that players find out through agents and fellow players just how much interest there is from another club. Liverpool’s bid, had it not been leaked by whoever it was (and it wasn’t LFC), would in itself have made no difference to Barry for that next match – and I’m doubtful as to whether it would anyway, other than picturing O’Neill losing it in the dressing room with other players as well as Barry.

    Personally I’d be quite happy if LFC gave an ultimatum on the deal, their final offer, and a deadline within which to accept it, before walking away. Few LFC supporters want a protracted saga over the summer, and I’m sure Rafa would rather look at his other options before wasting much more of pre-season. The international players are back soon, and he won’t want to be waiting too long after that for new faces to arrive.

    And I seriously think that Villa’s summer plans would be scuppered if LFC did walk away. But, as I say, we’ll see just how much money Villa had to spend when the summer’s over.

  13. I’m sorry but as a Villa fan I have to take some of the points you raise to task. Firstly are Liverpool fan’s really saying that MON would make public Liverpool’s faxed bid for Barry the day before our last home game V Wigan, which was one of our most important games of the season, in which we could have secured a 5th place and automatic UEFA Cup qualification? I was at Villa park for that game and Barry as well as the rest of the squad played pants! Liverpool’s season had effectively ended when they were knocked out of CL by Chelsea and they had already secured 4th place. This is what incensed MON and Villa fans alike! Rafa then spouted off to the press later that week before our season had finished ,if I remember correctly about making room for Barry in his squad considering his versatility.

    Normally MON infuriates the fans because he will NOTdiscuss transfers. Unlike managers like Rafa and Redknapp, we have no idea who we’ll be signing this summer it’s just speculation. MON has discussed Barry’s situation only after GB’s agent came out and said that he wanted to move to Liverpool. He also defended himself over Barry’s article in a Sunday newspaper.

    Lastly to suggest we have no money and Acorns sponsorship is a consequence. The club have been involved with Acorns hospice for a couple of years now as you will see from their website. It is a matter of record that the football club have turned down lucrative sponsorship deals to advertise the charity on their shirts and most fans would applaud such a move.

    With regard to the Barry fee he’s been our captain and has captained England so MON is entitled to value the player at his estimate. How much would Liverpool value Gerrard at?
    Would Red’s fans understand if Real Madrid made an offer for Gerrard and Liverpool just said OK. MON and the club are right to get the best for our former captain and please note the club have stated to the fans that they don’t need the fee as the transfer budget was already set aside before MON was aware he’d be looking for a new captain.

    Unlike Liverpool fans, Villa fans are very happy with their new American owner Randy Lerner. Time and time again he’s shown he has the best interest of the football club and the fans at heart and I think as time goes on this will become more and more apparent to fans of other clubs too!

  14. Has the writer read any pages of other club’s supporters or does he live in a total red balloon? Most other supporters are congratulating Villa and O’Neill for refusing to be bullied after their best player was disgracefully unsettled through the press in a fashion indebntical to Ronaldo and Real Madrid. The part of this totally biased article that really upsets me though regards the ‘Acorns’ sponsorship. For once a Premiership football team think more of less fortunate kids rather than greedy over overpaid footballers, and you try to knock it! I, and all Villa fans, are VERY VERY proud of the sponsorship deal with Acorns, and my friend I think you will find that the financial problems are at Anfield not Villa Park. Of course Barry is overvalued, but so is David Bentley, Peter Crouch, scott carson ans apparently Alonso (according to Juventus). Barry has been a great player for us, and it is very sad that his unwarranted outburst in the press (Agent driven I’m sure) has left a very sour taste amongst Villa fans. I’m sure Barry deeply regrets his comments, but it is too late to build bridges.

  15. Calm down, guys!

    There’s no deal yet. And the bitterness between the managers need not spill over to the fans.

    We’ve got an impasse between the clubs: their valuations differ and approach to the deal. But that’s typical negotiations between clubs.

    Now it’s for the clubs to decide. I for one, though, would prefer if we kept Alonso and you Barry.

  16. “Charity sponsor because Villa have no money? The club give away millions of pounds worth of sponsorship money because they’re broke? Absolutely not. Lerner is a billionaire and a fantastic businessman, the club is financially stable and in very good hands, which is more than can be said about Liverpool.”

    “Where has the class that was once your great club gone? You’re now nothing better than northern versions of those equally deluded Spurs fans. Shankly and Paisley must be spinning in their graves. RIP LIverpool FC.”

    @Villan & Vidi Vici Veni I have to agree with you both there. Villan I would have Randy Learner as owner of our club before both of these two gold digging clowns any day. Vidi Vici Veni you have a good point we have stooped to new lows in the last 12 months but that is not the fans that is the new ownership. They seem to think that they can come in throwing their weight around and we should all be gratefull for it. The club is not deluded in any way though like you are implying. We had alot of dead wood that we needed to get shut off, if we didn’t need to get shut then we wouldn’t need to bring them in. So having to sell to buy isn’t really as true as it looks. We have people like Pennant that we need to replace if he was any good then we wouldn’t need to get shut.

  17. I thought this was a scouse comedy article until I noticed the lack of racism in it.

  18. Mr Boardman it seems is conducting a character assassination of one of footballs most respected managers and putting into question the resolve and funds being made available by Aston Villa new owner Randy Learner.
    The Liverpool football club that i have always known would not have conducted this whole Gareth Barry saga in such an unprofessional manner, then again you do have a Spanish manager and no funds.
    As regards loyalty , whether the comments made about Mr O’Neill were by Barry or his agent , they were derogatory to say the least. Then again didnt Mr ” Squeaky Clean” Gerrard
    make the same “unhappy” overtures to the press only to gain a better wage deal to boost his and other highly overpaid Premier starlets egos to a size which is far bigger than the club where they ply their trade.

  19. @Julie: I understand your anger – you’re defending your club. But you need sometimes to step back to see what’s really going on when you’re talking about your own club, and that can be hard to do.

    LFC did not leak that first bid. MON assumed they had. Until then, there wasn’t a single quote that could be used to confirm LFC’s genuine interest. MON could have ignored the article, deflected questions, but in anger (it seems) decided to accuse LFC of the leak. In doing so he made it real. I guarantee that if he’d got the chance to go back to that day now he’d have kept his mouth shut, if he’d only realised it hadn’t been leaked by LFC.

    Who leaked it? Well the only people who knew were LFC, Villa and possibly the players’ agent. I’ve been personally assured it wasn’t LFC and that’s as much as I an say really.

    So MON didn’t leak it, he just confirmed the leak was true.

    Given his attitude since, his public attitude, and his response to players like Patrik Berger for example, not to mention the way he’s spoken about the whole deal, I can’t imagine his dressing room was a happy one for that match you mention.

    I don’t believe Rafa spoke in public about it until MON had already launched into his regular public updates on the situation.

    As for the Acorns situation, well perhaps you can provide some details of the lucrative offers Villa turned down that you say are on record.

    Barry’s fee – a player is worth whatever the two clubs agree he’s worth. If the player wants to leave then he’s worth less. If he’s only looking at one club then he’s worth less still. Villa don’t have to sell for less than their valuation, just as Liverpool don’t have to buy for more than theirs. If O’Neill is happy at the thought of LFC pulling out, then that’s entirely up to him. If O’Neill is sure he can afford to knock back Liverpool’s offer, good on him. If he thinks Barry will be able to play for Villa next season with the blessing of the fans, fair play to him. In that case then he should hold out for his £18m.

    What do you think Villa fans would do if LFC did drop out of the deal? Could Barry play again for you? Do you think he’d play well under O’Neill, that they could patch up their differences? Seriously, what do you think the consequences would be if LFC gave up on this?

    We’ve got Xabi Alonso lined up to move – but not one word has been said in anger between Xabi, Rafa, LFC or the fans. If that deal fails (and if it did it could plausibly end the Barry deal) Xabi will still be welcomed onto the pitch, the training ground, the dressing room with open arms.

    LFC did accept an offer for Gerrard, if you remember, and it was the player who ultimately decided against the move. That was badly handled by LFC, to allow it to get to that stage, but we accepted the offer. Very little was said publicly, by LFC, until the deal was close to its conclusion. If O’Neill had acted that way, perhaps this transfer would be over and done with now, one way or other.

    I hope LFC put a deadline on this soon.

  20. @John Evison: What does “then again you do have a Spanish manager” mean Mr Evison?

    And as for funds, well as I keep saying, we’ll see.

  21. Well Sidwells virtually a done deal bar the medical so hopefully this will bring an end to this Brokescouse Mountain of two footballers in love.

  22. One thing I do want to point out here is that how good or bad our manager or owner or financial situation is does not automatically make Villa’s the opposite.

    I’ve had mixed feelings on O’Neill for years, but his conduct in this transfer (which seems to have all come from his misunderstanding of the source of that leak) along with his apparent attempt to take over the coaching mid-game in the reserves play-off at Anfield, point me towards relief that the stories he’d bought numerous houses in and around Merseyside were false, that he never did become our boss.

    Contracts mean very little in football these days, but the first obstacle O’Neill seems to be struggling with is that Barry actually wanted to leave. Forget Villa’s ambitions, and forget the risk of LFC falling below their recent levels, LFC can still offer him more as a footballer right now than Villa can.

    If he was 23, I’d say that he should consider strongly the idea of seeing out his contract with Villa to find out how they perform compared to their ambitions. But he’s older, and could be out of the reckoning by the time Villa have pushed aside all the challengers in their way towards getting a top-four finish.

    So how hard would it be for Villa to wish him well? Peter Crouch will leave LFC this week, not for money, but for first team football. He’ll be wished well. If Xabi Alonso leaves LFC, there’ll be tears, I can guarantee. But he’ll be wished well in his new career, and some Reds might still get a Spanish shirt with his name on for the next World Cup. On the whole, if a player at least tries to leave on good terms he’ll be wished well, and he’ll get a good reception next time he plays against us.

    What did Barry do wrong, first of all prior to the NOTW article, but also before MON confirmed LFC’s bid?

    As for Villa’s owner, well you will be mad if you take his words at face value. Look for his actions, see if he actually does what he says he will. Also make sure he says what you thought he said.

    We can sit here all day comparing transfer fees for players, working out how it all makes LFC’s valuation right or Villa’s valuation right. But what it all comes down to is that LFC will have their own maximum price in mind. Any more than that then they might as well look at other targets. Villa will have their own minimum price in mind. Any less than that then they might as well keep Barry in the squad. But whilst nothing has happened to make Barry worth more to LFC this past month or two, a lot has happened to make Barry worth less to Villa. The key is – what is that new figure?
    If LFC pull out, and Barry and O’Neill admit they can’t work together, how low a fee would Villa have to accept from another club?

    If Lerner is as wealthy as is being implied, then they can afford to let that happen, and send Barry to another club for £10m, just to prove their point.

  23. To all Villians, You have stated on here that Villa is flush with money and that you do not need the £££ that liverpool are prepared to pay, If thats the case then can you tell me why you have the smallest squad of oplayers in the prem? why have so many of your players either left – want to leave? or are talking about leaving? why is your so called MON buying cast off players from other clubs who only cost peanuts and couldnt make the grade where they are?
    Wake up Villa peeps and smell the coffee, you do need LFC’s £££££ if only to buy your sidwells of this world, you will never ever be in the top 4 with attitude like that.
    If RL is flush with $$$$$ then why isnt MON spending it on class players????????
    WAKEY WAKEY VILLA FANS

  24. & Jim

    How can you make out Rafa doesn’t discuss other players contracted to other clubs? He’s doing EXACTLY the same today with David Villa. No bid just spouting off in the press how he’d like to sign him. This was same situation with Barry from Rafa and Gerrard publically discussing another team’s player, similar to Ronaldo and Real Madrid. Only in our case Barry’s required departure to Liverpool happened before our season had finished which is just not on at all! We’ve signed Sidwell today and the fee according to reports was agreed 3 wks ago it was only the player himself wishing to speak to Scolari before he agreed the move…..out of respect that he was still contracted to another club….. have you heard a peep out of MON about Steve Sidwell as yet even though he’s undergoing a medical??!!!

    With regard to Acorns hospice shirt deal on a NIKE shirt no less… has been known as a not very well kept secret to all the fans for ages. If your theory was correct Acorns would have been a re-action to failing to secure a shirt sponsor and it is not because we’ve known about it since last season. Barcelona have done the same with UNICEF, are you trying to say that was because THEY couldn’t get a sponsor. This is the 1st time a Premier league club has done this and if you read the comments of the PL chairman a few weeks ago when it was announced the gesture was applauded by him wholeheartedly and if I remember correctly he refers to turning down multi-million pound sponsorship deals specifically. But of course if you choose to beleive otherwise so be it!

  25. I love it. Villa fans getting angry. Probably their frustration showing at their club going no-where and about to lose their best player!And replace him with Sidwell. oh sorry i forgot your in the Intertoto!!! Hardly rivals to the greatest club in the English history.

    But the money your asking for him is unrealistic for a 27 year old. My suggestion is that you keep Barry and we’ll keep Alonso, then everyones happy.

  26. @ Jim and Kopite999

    Someone posted this on a Villa Forum. Sums it all up for me really:-

    It’s not about the money. Randy Lerner can afford ot throw a few million away, and he has done repeatedly since joining the club on things which are about “style” if you like – giving away the sponsorship, rebuilding the Holte Pub, the mosiacs being redone. SO if he goes for £5m less in January, or £7-8m less next summer, so what? The money isnt neded for transfers and will not affect in any way the managers budget.

    Its not about Barry’s contract running down. because of the financial position of the club the only people hurt by Barry sitting in the stands for the next 6-12 months are Barry and Liverpool (as Liverpool want him so badly). it makes no odds to us, we have already accepted that he has gone, so whether he spends the next bit of his career playing for Liverpool, or sat at home playing on his Playstation, is largely irrelevant.

    This is about principle. This is about Liverpool daring to treat the new Villa as if it was the old Ellis run shambles. Treating us like second class citizens. People will have to get used to dealing with a different Villa; a Villa with serious ambitions of taking on the big boys. Liverpool are the first to test that and are finding out that actually ONeill and Lerner are serious.

    So its up to Liverpool. meet our terms, or go and buy someone else. We dont care either way.

  27. The reason Villa have not ‘splashed the cash’ is because O’Neill is finding it very difficult to find the players he wants because we don’t offer Champions League football. Nothing to do with money. He is having therefore to ‘shop at the next floor down’ and the competetion for those sort of players is immense from other clubs trying to challenge the top four. I sincerely believe a massive amount of money is available, but O’Neill is very cautious in his transfer policy. He looks very carefully at the impact any signing will make in the changing room. He has, remember, spent significant funds on Reo-Coker, Ashley Young, Curtis Davies and John Carew (well he got rid of Baros). We have evidently put in a £15m bid for David Bentley, and £8m for Miguel from Valencia irrespective of the ‘Barry money’, and have just spent £4.5m on Sidwell. Whether we can get the players we want without CL football waits to be seen.

  28. A message to Villa and their fans….please convince your manager to put another £5-10million on Barry’s valuation or I don’t ask for one of our first teamers in part-ex…just to drive away our club from the deal….I am sure a sizeable majority of lfc fans do not want Barry at our club if it means Alonso is sold.

    Forget about who said what etc etc etc. Just get the above msg to your club….I am sure Martin O’Neill is a people person and he will listen to you.

    Thank you in advance for your co-operation and assistance.

  29. @ Raju

    That’s another good point to consider in all this…why the hell do Liverpool need another CM you have a great one in Alonso?!! He might not have had the best of seasons last year….but anyone watching the Euros could see he’s a class player. As is Barry TBH. It’s daft all this carry on over Barry unless of course Gerrard has demanded he signs for Liverpool. What you really need is an Ashley Young out on the wing providing pinpoint crosses for the likes of Torres to bang in!

  30. @ Julie

    If its a new era for Villa under Lerner, how come Mellberg wanted out and now Barry? Two of your best players!

  31. This article doesn’t take us forward at all – it is so partisan I doubt Liverpool supporters truly believe it. It’s interesting to note that the impartial comment from neutral football blogs, the BBC web site, national newspapers etc. all say the opposite about Barry’s conduct and Rafa’s tactics.

    We all accept Barry is yours now, so does MON, but he still doesn’t have to sell. He doesn’t need the money and if needs be Barry can be put out to grass like Patrick Berger until he is integrated back in the team.

    More than the money, MON needs to show the foot balling world that Villa will stand up for themselves and won’t be bossed about. If Rafa had gone about this in the right way, reluctantly, Barry would have been let go for £15 million or less.

    Now Rafa has got a big problem, if he doesn’t pay the asking price, his reputation outside Liverpool will be shot to pieces. His reputation in the squad will be damaged too. If he doesn’t reach 4th at least next season then Gerrard may well be off. Maybe historians will look at this affair as the beginning of the end for Rafa and the current success of Liverpool – those that are not clothed in one eyed red that is.

  32. @ Julie,

    Apart from our very own stevie me, no one else has actually spoken about how good it would be to sign Barry.

    Alonso & Pepe Reina are going to be key if we are going to try and sign Villa and/or Silva from Valencia.

    Ashley Young huh? On a jovial note, can you imagine what would happen to O’Neill if we also bid for him as well? No I think best not go down this route.

    Btw, I am sincerely surprised at the ill feeling between Villa and Liverpool fans over this transfer saga. Players come and go….the club and its fans will remain.

  33. @Raju

    This is not specifically an issue between Villa fans and Liverpool fans. I think most of the premier league would like you to fail.

    You cling on to the big boys for dear life banging the drum because you were a good team 20 years ago. Your club, more than any other club, is solely reliant on one truly great player. You are nowhere near United and because that grates so much you chose to belittle teams like Villa.

    Over two games last season there really was not much between us. Only a Gerard dive and a Crouch late equaliser. And your standard of football was atrocious.

  34. @ Koptie999 & Raju

    It’s an interesting debate comparing Barry and Mellberg situations……..

    Mellberg has been with Villa for a long time. He decided out of contract….rather than sign a new contract ,he wanted a move to Juventus because at 30 he wanted to play CL football. (Ah same as Barry I hear you cry!.)
    Watching the interview with him at the end of last season when we’d finished so well and in 6th.. he said that he had some reservations whether he’d made
    the right decision. I’m sure giving every single travelling Villa fan about 3,500 of them a No 4 shirt at West Ham with “Mellberg thanks for your support” had something to do with his now legendary status!! He also said he’d always love the club and hoped to come back as a coach. You also have to remember on becoming manager MON took the captaincy of Mellberg and gave it to Barry and then proceeded to expect him to play RB instead of CB. Did Mellberg give one hint of a complaint??!!!

    The big difference with Barry is Juventus are not a rival PL team…. Liverpool are! Wheras Villa fans are furious with Barry because he was club captain and his departure is aiding one of the teams we’re trying to catch AND could hamper our ambitions to make it into Champions League!! As I’ve said before the ill feeling initially came because of public overtures from Anfield over Barry before one of the biggest games of our season.Plus he’s now publically criticized MON for not begging him to stay. I honestly think Villa fans hope he goes now!!

    Ronaldo wants to leave Man Utd , who’ve just won the double for the brighter lights of Milan! So these days who knows??!!!

  35. @ Raju

    Sorry I meant with regard to Ronaldo…bright lights of Madrid not Milan…

    I think you’ll find very early on in this saga. Rafa was speaking to the press about Barry and whether his signing would mean Alonso getting the boot… …..as quoted in Daily Post 9th May 2008 Article by Ian Doyle……………Benitez, though, said yesterday: “Xabi is our player, he has a contract. Barry can play in three different positions, so I don’t think we need to worry about this.” Later Gerrard made his desire to play with Barry also.

    Same as he’s discussing David Villa

  36. @Julie: That mention by Rafa in the post came after O’Neill had confirmed Liverpool’s bid.

    The story in the Echo that started it all was on May 2nd:

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2008/05/02/liverpool-make-10m-bid-for-gareth-barry-100252-20853710/

    O’Neill’s response was in the Times the next morning:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/article3864399.ece

    After that happens, is Rafa supposed to keep quiet?

    If it happened in reverse, if Rafa had mentioned a bid that had come in for one of our players from Villa, would O’Neill keep quiet? Especially if Rafa had wrongly accused him of leaking the bid?

    To be honest, it’s time this charade about what does and doesn’t constitute “tapping up” was properly dealt with. Or just ignored.

  37. on the afternoon of the 1st May Liverpool made a derisory offer for Gareth Barry in a fax signed as a pp from Parry. The following morning the Liverpool Echo published a story from it’s Liverpool FC correspondent Tony Barratt that began

    “LIVERPOOL have tabled a £10m bid to bring Aston Villa star Gareth Barry to Anfield.

    The offer was made yesterday as Rafa Benitez reacted to Liverpool’s Champions League exit at the hands of Chelsea by making an immediate move for his number one summer transfer target…”

    Martin O’Neill then had to face questions about this story during his Friday press conference ahead of the match with Wigan.

    Everyone in football, including Gareth Barry and his agent would have known that Barratt’s story was true. What option did Martin O’Neill have other than acknowledge that a bid had been received?

    Considering that Villa’s season was at a critical stage and that Liverpool leaking the story was a blatant tapping up, Martin O’Neill had every right to be angry about it.

  38. @ Onion

    ‘ a great club 20 years ago’

    Do you want me to list the honours we’ve won since 1988? It would include FA Cups, League Cups, Super Cup, UEFA Cup and a European Cup! If we only consider the past 20 years to whether a club is big or not, doesnt that eliminate your European Cup???

  39. @ Jim

    I know Rafa’s comments came after MON had confirmed the bid. Point is Liverpool Echo leaked story initially 2nd May..the day before we played Wigan at home! I would have thought, regarding where the leak came from, it’s likely that the Echo’s connections with Liverpool are far better than those at Villa. If the leak was from Villa end surely a B’ham paper would have got hold of this story first. However regardless of where the source was leaked from…. why couldn’t Benitez save his bidding until after the end of our season!!

    There are clear guidelines given in the Premier League rules regarding “tapping up” directly or indirectly but yes I agree FIFA and everyone connected to football should put forward a strict code of conduct for agents, players and managers etc to follow with regard to discussing players under contract to other teams.

  40. sure haven’t 3 different Villa players come out and commented on how much they would love to have Crouch at Villa

  41. @ Panchovilla

    ‘Now Rafa has got a big problem, if he doesn’t pay the asking price, his reputation outside Liverpool will be shot to pieces. His reputation in the squad will be damaged too. If he doesn’t reach 4th at least next season then Gerrard may well be off. Maybe historians will look at this affair as the beginning of the end for Rafa and the current success of Liverpool ‘

    Couldn’t disagree with you more. Quite the opposite. Barry at 18 m is overpriced. If he was 23/24 maybe. At 27 he’s at least 5million too expensive. I hope if 18m is the figure your manager wants, then Rafa does walk away. There’s no shame in that. Chelsea now are paying for their spree when Abramovich first took over. when they inquire about a player an extra 10m is slapped on the asking price just because everyone knows they’ll pay it. Whats the value of Crespo, Shevchenko, Wright Phillips now compared to what they paid for them? Rafa wont fall into this same trap. If he thinks MON wants too much for Barry he’ll look elsewhere or stick with Alonso. But that leaves you with an unhappy player

  42. Liverpool fans should conduct a little more decorum in these discussion boards and not be condescending in our remarks of other ‘smaller sides’.
    Anyhow do the Villa fans know that Benitez is reportedly interested in buying them as they are ‘on his list’.

  43. Well guys having read all of the comments on this article I have to laugh. I’m a neutral here being a Watford fan but having said that I do have to side slightly with the red half of this sutuation.

    MON has come across as somewhat arrogant and almost spiteful during this long drawn out transfer, money and each clubs values of the player aside, he has blabbed on and on about Liverpool haven’t done this and haven’t done or offered this or that, and then on the other hand Barry has said that Villa haven’t done anything to convince him to stay – it sounds to me like Liverpool should stick with what they’ve got as MON and Barry are as bad as one another.

    I do agree with the comment of publicly speaking about another teams player, it’s not good to do and shouldn’t happen but again once out in the open MON has continued it for more than long enough and has openly offered more information too.

    Barry would surely have been aware of Liverpool’s interest long before Benitez made his offer to Villa when England met up and Steven Gerrard tapped him up so whether the story was leaked or not he was going to put in a transfer request once he’d made his mind up just like Ronaldo will decide to whether to stay or go.

    Julie’s comment about Villa playing badly the next day. I would say that Villa’s performance didn’t have anything to do with the Barry issue (other than perhaps Barry’s personal performance), it was just a bad day at the office and you could say that this sort of thing shouldn’t affect people who are afterall professionals – in fact you only have to look at the Liverpool boardroom saga for virtually the entire season and they got to the Champions League semi-final. If players respond to everything like that then last season Liverpool would have been relegated.

    To conclude I’d say both clubs would be better off as they are – Liverpoo have a great player in Alonso who could yet stay and then Villa also have a great player in Barry – both very similar so what’s the point – I suppose only Benitez can answer. Anyway you lot ought to calm down a bit as nobody’s gone anywhere yet.

  44. @ Panchovilla

    ‘Now Rafa has got a big problem, if he doesn’t pay the asking price, his reputation outside Liverpool will be shot to pieces. His reputation in the squad will be damaged too. If he doesn’t reach 4th at least next season then Gerrard may well be off. Maybe historians will look at this affair as the beginning of the end for Rafa and the current success of Liverpool ‘

    Hilarious. We’re absolutely quaking………..Can you tell us some more funny stories about the hypothetical demise of one of the most feared and respected managers in Europe.

  45. @ Raju

    “Apart from our very own stevie me, no one else has actually spoken about how good it would be to sign Barry”

    My quote from Daily Post was to show that Rafa ALSO has spoken of Barry in the press.

    And another thing on Rafa Benitez …..

    Wasn’t this leak in the Liverpool Echo on 2nd May… only a couple of days after the CL semi final V Chelsea when Rafa took Torres off late on to everyone’s bemusement… supposedly for a hamstring pull…the same hamstring pull that saw him play 92mins in a PL match a few days later??!!! I know Babel scored but surely he should have been on the pitch WITH Torres not instead of!!

    At the time I thought “What a great way of deflecting any critisism of Rafa’s bizarre squad rotation and spurious Torres substitution… to leak an offer for Barry.. ..deflect the limelight.. not to mention…unsettling the player….look like Liverpool mean business…and hopefully Villa cough up cheap!

  46. This is not specifically an issue between Villa fans and Liverpool fans. I think most of the premier league would like you to fail.

    You cling on to the big boys for dear life banging the drum because you were a good team 20 years ago. Your club, more than any other club, is solely reliant on one truly great player. You are nowhere near United and because that grates so much you chose to belittle teams like Villa.

    Over two games last season there really was not much between us. Only a Gerard dive and a Crouch late equaliser. And your standard of football was atrocious.

    @Onion The game we played against the mancs at home we battered them and man u stole the points. The away game if Mascherano didn’t get sent off we would hve got some points out of that. I also do not see how you claim that we cling onto the big boys because we have finsihed ahead of Arsenal a few times over the years, and we do not claim to be better than the mancs. With regards to our history WELL AT LEAST WE HAVE GOT ONE!!!!!!!!!

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