Former Aston Villa Manager Graham Taylor Defends Gareth Barry's Exit

The man who used to occupy the Villans' hotseat has leapt to the defence of the man who jumped ship to Eastlands this week...
Gareth Barry left Aston Villa earlier this week in the first of the summer's big transfer swoops, joining Manchester City for a reported £12 million, signing a five-year contract at Eastlands.

Many Villa fans were disappointed, to say the least, with the fact that the player, who had said in the past that he wanted to play Champions League football, had joined an outfit who would not be competing in any form of European competition at all next season.

Former Villans boss Graham Taylor though, a man who also managed the England national team and achieved wonders with Watford during his career, thinks that the move was motivated by more complex factors that are perhaps immediately apparent.

"I think there are some leftovers from last season when Gareth didn't get a move to Liverpool," Taylor told BBC Sport.

"Maybe he has also been drawn in by the sort of players City are pursuing and thinks it's time for a change.

"I am much more sympathetic to Gareth than many people, being closer to the situation.

"I think money has played a major part in it, but I don't think it is totally behind it."

Villa manager Martin O'Neill clashed with Barry last summer over the prospective move to Liverpool, with the player criticising the Ulsterman in a newspaper article. Taylor feels that some of that bad feeling may have lingered, but both men have acted professionally.

"I think both Martin and Gareth were both very professional and did extremely well last season. I think both will deny it but I think there are some leftovers from last season," Taylor added.

"I know Gareth very well. He is a great lad and when I went to Villa he had been out of the team but I put him straight back in.

"I think he will be a very good signing for Manchester City."

Zack Wilson,