City Blogger: Steven Allweis
- 29 August 2013 14:24
- Posted by @viewfromablue
Following the recent announcement of the team of eight City Bloggers from around the world who will be writing for us this season, it's time for the next piece courtesy of Steven Allweis - the man behind the excellent View From A Blue blog...
He was there. Always there. Not flashy, not courting the limelight, not attracting attention.
Whilst our attacking stars grabbed the headlines, their eye-catching talent and dazzling quality clear for all to see, one man slipped largely under the radar. He has been an instrumental figure over the past few seasons in our growth and success, yet he was barely mentioned when talk centred on our most important players. He was Gareth Barry. And he was a true unsung hero.
Of course, our creative midfielders and strikers, on form, are a thrill to watch: Sergio Aguero’s spellbinding ability to glide past defenders with his low centre of gravity, David Silva’s majestic guile around the box, Jesus Navas’s terrifying turn of pace and direct approach. I could go on. But whilst they are captivating and destructive to the opposition, Barry’s influence, often in the shadows of a game, patrolling in the background, went unnoticed.
During the title-winning season and again last year when others dipped below expectations, Barry was always there, providing the balance to the side. His reassuring presence in front of the defence, shielding without fuss, was the platform to enable our more creative stars to cause havoc further forward. He didn’t desire praise from afar. He just did his job. And he did it superbly.
He may not have been blessed with pace, but his reading of the game, his anticipation of danger and his clever use of the ball more than compensated for that. When our attacks broke down, he was perfectly in position, mopping up in midfield, regaining control and getting us started again. It wasn’t flamboyant, but it was essential.
As MCFC’s very own Head of Content, Chris Bailey, said on Twitter last season after another midfield masterclass: “Those who know the game understand Gareth Barry is top, top class.”
Perhaps he was one of those players you needed to see live every week to truly appreciate. Watching on TV, when he was often out of shot, maybe didn’t convey his excellence. The amount of times non-City supporters criticised him was nauseating, their lack of appreciation for Barry painful. But he was a rock for us since joining and the players respected that. Who better than David Silva, the creative genius himself, to back that up by voting for Barry as his player of the season when we won the Premier League.
There are certain individuals who aren’t glitzy on the pitch, who don’t surge past defenders or produce thunderous strikes from the edge of the area, yet their contributions shouldn’t be neglected. At City, James Milner is another who never receives the credit he deserves. Putting rivalry aside for a fleeting moment, Michael Carrick keeps Manchester United ticking, Claude Makelele at Chelsea was an essential cog in their success for many years and even Arsenal, for all their stylish football in the year of the title-winning Invincibles, required Gilberto Silva to give them a solid foundation. Not many notice them going about their business, but that shouldn’t diminish their importance.
As the transfer deadline loomed last night, Barry moved on to Everton and while, sadly, he has left us, his contributions won’t be forgotten. So thanks, Gareth, for everything you achieved at City; for your understated authority, your consistent excellence and your unfussy control of midfield. You were a star. It’s about time you got the praise you deserved.