Gareth Barry risked angering Aston Villa fans even more last night when he revealed he would not have left had Martin O'Neill's side not blown their chances of securing Champions League qualification.
The England midfielder is public enemy No 1 at Villa Park after a controversial £12million switch to Manchester City.
City will not be competing in Europe next season and this, combined with the fact Barry has signed a five-year contract worth an estimated £130,000 a week, has left the player open to accusations of greed.
Barry has attempted to make peace with Villa manager O'Neill by leaving him a message of gratitude on his mobile phone but his disclosure that Villa lost him as a result of failing to secure fourth place in the Premier League will rub more salt into the wounds of fans who once idolised him.
Barry, however, believes his dedicated service means he owes Villa nothing and that he has joined a club who can not only secure Champions League status but also go on to challenge for the trophy itself, along with all the other major honours in club football.
Barry said: 'I don't want to compare the two clubs because that wouldn't be fair, but the whole point of coming here was to have a change, something that excites me.
'Playing in the Champions League with Manchester City is viable. The manager has convinced me we can reach these heights.
'If Villa had finished fourth I would have stayed. I would have enjoyed playing Champions League football at Villa Park.'
Barry also revealed he sought assurances from City's owners that boss Mark Hughes's future was not in doubt. He said: 'I've seen it before. Players join clubs then two months later the manager is gone and their future is uncertain.
'That was the last thing I wanted to happen here.'