Gareth Barry sold his soul to the devil this summer in his desperate attempts to leave his boyhood club for Liverpool. After making his way through to his position of captain, after playing for the team since he was a teenager, he was happy to throw it away for what he hoped would be a trophy or two with the dippers.

Just as Steven Gerrard hears chants of ‘Chelsea rent boy’ after trying to dump his childhood team for what he hoped would be a trophy or too with Chelsea, I wouldn’t be too surprised if our away fans chanted ‘You scouse bastard’ when Barry gets a touch of the ball at the weekend.

Barry has spoken in great praise of United ahead of our match, whilst recognising the dreadful record Villa has against us.

“There is no bigger game on the Villa Park calendar than Manchester United,” said Barry. “They are clearly one of the biggest teams in Europe. Their history proves that, particularly in the Premier League years under Sir Alex Ferguson. Just take a look at their trophy cabinet, that’s all the evidence you need. That tradition stands them in good stead whenever they take the field but we must also be aware of their tremendous record here at Villa Park. I have the distinction, if that’s how you put it, of being one of the two Villa scorers here on home soil against United in the past six seasons, and that was in an FA Cup game that we lost 2-1. We’ve only won once in recent seasons and that was a Carling Cup game in 1999 when they sent a team of youngsters.”

Wow, high praise indeed. Anyone reckon he’ll be holding his club to ransom for a deal to United next summer…