For Aston Villa fans, understandably giddy on a couple of a decent wins to start your Premier League season, here is a sobering thought for you.
One of the big teams does not take you seriously.
Or at least, they don’t think you are a threat to their ambitions of finishing in a Champions League spot, they think mid-table safety is the best you can hope for.
They think you are part of that fat Premier League underbelly that is merely a support act for the elite.
A nice part of the package to be sold to TV companies around the globe.
But that is about it.
A bit over the top, maybe, but that is the only conclusion to be drawn from Chelsea’s decision to pat you on the head and lend you a 26-year-old, fully-fledged England international for the season.
There you go guys, Ross Barkley is not good enough for us but he will do for you. Might even be one of your best players.
Aston Villa’s ownership has shown splendid ambition, splendid loyalty to their excellent manager.
But this is a club of wonderful history. This is a club as gloriously emblematic of English football as anyone else.
This is a club, league champions seven times. This is a club, seven times FA Cup winners. This is a club, European Cup winners.
And you are BORROWING players from a club that you should be trading blows with.
You are not alone, it has been done many times before and will be again and it is part of football’s fabric.
Chelsea have players on loan at West Brom, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.
But it should remain disheartening.
If Barkley does OK, you might get to keep him, for a price.
If he does really well, thanks. We’ll have him back and sell him to the highest bidder or, heaven forbid, might even use him ourselves.
He cannot get into our team but you lot keep him fit for the season, keep his value up and we will take it from there.
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Whatever you take on Richard Scudamore, the former chief executive’s view on the Premier League loan system was spot on.
He was against it and rightly so.
It is a blot on the competitions’s copybook.
For starters, it fundamentally undermines its integrity.
Barkley occasionally scores a worldie. He might get one against Liverpool for Villa on Sunday evening.
But he cannot get one against a team Liverpool might – as unlikely as it seems – count as direct adversaries. Chelsea, that is.
How can that be right?
Jack Harrison has played every minute of Leeds United’s Premier League campaign, set up Patrick Bamford’s winner at Bramall Lane and scored a beauty at Anfield.
He won’t be repeating the trick against Manchester City this weekend. Why? Because he is a Manchester City player.
Each team in the Premier League receives in excess of £100million to go with the money invested by their owners.
How you spend that money should be a fundamental part of the contest.
If you fancy a player, buy him. Make him your own.
If the club does not want to sell, buy someone else.
However well he does, Barkley will be a Chelsea player doing Aston Villa a favour this season.
I am in a strict minority, no doubt, but that just does not seem right.
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