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Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 12:49 UK

'Stale' fear spurred Barry move

Gareth Barry
Barry played over 400 games for Villa, scoring 52 goals

England midfielder Gareth Barry has explained his £12m move from Aston Villa to Manchester City, saying he had a "massive fear of going stale".

In an open letter to Villa's fans published in the Birmingham Mail on Wednesday, Barry said: "I want the chance to explain my decision.

"I have a massive fear of going stale and falling into a comfort zone.

"After changing my mind lots of times I came to the decision that the time was right for me and the club to part."

The future of the 28-year-old has been a constant source of speculation over the past 12 months, with Liverpool pursuing the signature of the former Brighton trainee throughout the summer of 2008.

Barry stated his desire to join the Reds, but with Rafa Benitez unable to match Villa's valuation, then set at £18m, the England international announced that he would stay at Villa Park in August.

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"I have grown bored of all the speculation surrounding me over the last 12 months and I am sure all the fans have as well," said Barry.

"I am glad I never left last summer because I would have left under a cloud. This year I feel things are different."

In May, Villa manager Martin O'Neill said that he would consider selling Barry, who had one year left on his contract at Villa Park, to a club who had qualified for the Champions League.

However, City finished six places and 22 points behind the top four clubs in the Premier League this season, all of whom qualify for Europe's elite club competition.

"Once I had spoken to Mark Hughes there was nowhere else I wanted to go," said Barry.

"They were the club prepared to meet the valuation, which for a 28-year-old with a year left on his contract, I think shows how much they wanted me.

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"I am convinced with the plans the club has and the backing the manager will receive from the owners, that we will be a major force."

Barry moved to Villa from Brighton as a 16-year-old in 1997 and played over 400 games for the Birmingham club, as well as winning 29 caps for England.

"I feel the club is in the best position it has been in during my time here," added Barry.

"We have very good young players, a fantastic chairman and one of the best managers in the game.

"I want to thank them [the Villa fans] for the incredible support I have received over the last 12 years.

"For the rest of my life Aston Villa will be the first result I look for. Thanks for everything."



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