Gareth Barry will have more chances at breaking Ryan Giggs’ all-time Premier League appearances record, but it’s not going to be in the royal blue of Everton. The midfielder has moved to West Bromwich Albion for £1m on an initial one-year deal, likely with an option for a second.
Just four games behind Giggs’ mark, he also leads the all-time yellow cards received ranks, well clear of any challengers as none of of his closest rivals are even playing any more.
However, to trivialize his four year spell at Everton like that would be a grave injustice to a player who has redefined the defensive midfielder position as we know it at Goodison Park. Always calm on the ball, with a great eye for a quick pass and never one to shy away from a crunching tackle. Barry has been a consummate professional with the Toffees, and has certainly made a big impression on every player that has worked with him at Finch Farm.
And the fans, of course. While he has often been criticized for his pace of play especially in the last couple of years, just because the 53-times capped former England midfielder has lost a yard or three of speed doesn’t mean his acute footballing instincts have withered either. The more intelligent of the fanbase have grown to love him and will miss those very qualities.
Speaking to evertonfc.com before his departure, he said -
"I've had four great years at Everton. The fans have been brilliant with me from the day I signed until the day I left. I'm proud that the Club will always be a big part of my career.
"There are too many people to thank but I'd like to mention a few of them - the Chairman, Bill Kenwright, Roberto Martinez who brought me to Goodison, Ronald Koeman whom I've enjoyed working with, the staff at the Club and some great teammates. And of course the fans.
"Look forward to seeing you all again."
In all, the 36-year-old made 154 appearances for Everton, scoring five goals and laying on twelve assists since arriving from Manchester City on loan in 2013. He also picked up both Everton’s Player and Players’ Player of the Season accolades for the 2015-16 season.
Thank you GazBaz, and welcome back to Goodison Park any time.