Friday 23 August 2019

John Giles: Gareth Barry 'record' the latest attempt to pretend that football only started with Premier League era

Gareth Barry has made a record 633rd Premier League appearance
Gareth Barry has made a record 633rd Premier League appearance

John Giles

I take my hat off to Gareth Barry and his longevity. He’s a rare bird but as ever, I’m appalled by the attempt to airbrush a century of history out of the picture.

If you look at the all-time list of League appearances, sitting on top with a quiet astonishing 1005 games is Peter Shilton.  That’s over 350 games more than Barry.

In fact, there are about 150 players who have more appearances than Barry, which makes you wonder what all the fuss is about until you realise that his games were all in the Premier League.

This is an ongoing blight on the game, this attempt to pretend that football only started with the Premier League era.

The problem is that somewhere down the line if another player reaches Barry’s total, he will be the point of comparison and not Shilton or the dozens of other players who had longer careers.

The only time the Premier League’s PR handlers are interested in records which pre-date their great invention is when someone is about to beat one of them.

Good luck to Barry and I hope he can play on into his 40s. If he does that, he might even get to within 200 games of Shilton.

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