Football FanCast columnist Lewis Doe does not think Gareth Barry will be welcomed back to Aston Villa after joining Manchester City.
There are a lot of players who ply their trade at a specific club for a long period of time and then move on for a variety of reasons. Gareth Barry built himself up at Aston Villa and then left. He could have gone to a whole host of clubs, including title chasing Liverpool, but his choice to join Manchester City (it's fair to say) lost him a lot of respect from those people who once admired him.
Regardless of a player's background, in the modern day when you join a club like Manchester City; the common assumption to make is that there can only be one reason why the player went there, especially as they couldn't offer him anything different on the football side of things than Villa could. Obviously money was the pivotal factor, something which undoubtedly leaves a sour taste with supporters.
Barry is set to face his once adoring public for the first time tonight and why he is surely set for a hot reception by the Villa support. James Milner is hopeful that supporters will respect his achievements at Villa and not give him a decent reception on his return.
Milner said: "He played for the club for a very long time, served the club brilliantly. He's obviously a top-quality player, and it's not only about what he's done, it's about the help he's given the other young players coming through who have had the chance to learn off him. I certainly learned a lot and he did great service to Aston Villa, so hopefully he'll get a good reception."
"It's the supporters' decision. Football's all about opinions and everyone thinks differently about teams and players. I can only say what I feel: that he was a great player for Aston Villa and did a lot for the club."
"It's up to the fans what sort of reception they give him. I just hope he gets a good one but it's down to each individual. But he's a great lad, a top player and a top person."
I personally think that Milner is going to be somewhat disappointed as I am sure that the majority of Villa fans are not going to be so forgiving. Despite being an honest hardworking player, there is a stigma attached with Manchester City and all their new players will be looked upon with an air of scepticism about their actual motives. Gareth Barry will be no different and despite the years of good service and commitment to the Villa cause, little will change this view tonight.
Can Barry expect a hot reception tonight, or will Villa fans appreciate his years and effort towards the cause?
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