Villa News & Record
Villa News & Record
*Age on opening day of the season
FAC: FA Cup; FL: Football League; D1: Division 1; D2: Division 2; D3: Division 3; PL: Premier League; CH: Championship
FULL SEASON BREAKDOWN
Barry Ryan Bannan
Friday, 1 December 1989
Airdrie, North Lanarkshire
2004-08 Aston Villa Under 18s |
2008-10 Aston Villa Reserves |
Thursday, 1 July 2004
Youth Team |
2009 Derby County, 1 Mar 2009 to 1 May 2009, 10 (1) |
2009-10 Blackpool, 1 Nov 2009 to 1 May 2010, 20 (1) |
2011 Leeds United, 1 Mar 2011 to 1 Apr 2011, 7 (0) |
Monday, 2 September 2013
2013-15 Crystal Palace, £1.89m |
2015 Bolton Wanderers (L) |
2015- Sheffield Wednesday, Free |
Villa News & Record
Villa News & Record
Seasons Active, Fee, Starts (Sub) | Goals |
2007-13 Yth, 85 | 51 (34) | 2 |
Martin O’Neill |
Gérard Houllier |
Alex McLeish |
Paul Lambert |
First Squad Appearance
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Hamburger SV (a), UEFA Cup
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Sunday, 31 March 2013
Liverpool (h), Premier League
Final Squad Appearance
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Played for the Villa
(5 ft 6 in) 1.67 m
Player #818 for Aston Villa, Barry Ryan Bannan played as a midfielder for the club between 2008-09 and 2012-13 making 85 appearances and scoring twice.
Bannan was born in Airdrie on 1 December 1989 and he was signed by Villa as a 15 year old from Glasgow Celtic in July 2004.
Bannan had been regularly turning out for his local Sunday league side Lenzie in Airdrie whose historic connections to Villa extended to them adopting Villa’s rampant lion on their crest. It was to be Lenzie boss Ian Stevenson and Villa scout George Grace who engineered a trial for Bannan with Villa and the club and player were smitten.
As Bannan recalled: “My Dad played a massive part in me going to Villa because the area I came from was rough and my mates kind of all went the other way.”
“He didn’t want that to happen to me so we decided to move from Scotland when I was 13 after I had a successful trial at Villa. I’d just done my first year at high school in Scotland and was starting to go to school discos and parties on Fridays. I was just starting to enjoy that side of it and my Dad made me move. I didn’t take too kindly to it at the start, but looking back it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
It was to be 4 years later before Bannan got his first team chance as Martin O’Neill handed him his debut on on Wednesday, 17 December 2008 aged 19 in the UEFA Cup Group F Game 4 at Hamburger SV coming on as a 61’ substitute for Craig Gardner.
Bannan’s debut however had come after concerns about whether a professional deal would be offered to the youngster due to his relatively short stature (5 ft 6 in) as Bannan recollected “It was Martin O'Neill who had the final decision. I got glowing reports from academy boss Bryan Jones, Sid Cowans, Kevin [MacDonald] and and Tony [McAndrew]. I got a good report from all of the academy staff but it was down to the gaffer, Martin O'Neill. I remember my mum and dad saying when we went into the meeting that he'd mentioned about my height, that was his only query about me. But when I made my debut in Hamburg I remember him saying that my height wouldn't be a problem because I had a good heart, I had the heart the size of a lion. From that day on when there was a question about my height it made me work that much harder, especially because I'd been touch and go for my pro deal."
O’Neill would then hand Bannan his first start on Thursday, 26 February 2009 aged 19 in his controversial selection for Villa’s Round of 32 UEFA Cup tie at CSKA Moscow where he played a weakened team of youngsters and reserves and forfeited Villa’s best chance of European success in 26 years.
That would prove to be Bannan’s final appearance under O’Neill as he would not be selected for the entirety of the 2009-10 campaign and by the time of his next game, O’Neill was gone and caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald was in place.
MacDonald handed Bannan an 89’ substitute appearance on the opening day of the 2010-11 season as Villa beat West Ham United 3-0 and started him in the following game on Thursday, 19 August 2010 in which he scored Villa’s goal in the draw with Rapid Wien in their UEFA Europa League tie.
Bannan remembers the game fondly “That's my favourite memory. he grins. Kev [Kevin MacDonald] and Tony [McAndrew] were the people who had basically made me who I was and they were the managers for that game. I scored and there's a video that I remember really well of Tony McAndrew jumping and smacking his head off the bench. They were just over the moon. One of the boys that they've nurtured through has scored for them in a Europa League game for the first team. I always look back on that because that was me repaying them for their hard work really."
“It was crazy. I remember Andi Weimann did his ankle. That was obviously his boyhood team, he’d grown up and come through the ranks there. They had these mad ultra fans behind the goal. He was getting stretchered off in pain - I think he was out for four months after that - they were throwing coins and everything at him and he was one of their own. It was mental, it was hostile so that made it even better scoring there as well. I’d probably say that was my greatest moment at Villa and the victory at Anfield when we won 3-1.”
Bannan had the skills and commitment to play for Villa but he would not be selected again until the arrival of Gérard Houllier.
For all Houllier’s myriad faults he saw in Bannan, as he had with Marc Albrighton, the kernel of a player who could materially improve a declining Villa squad, even likening him to Barcelona midfield greats Xavi and Andres Iniesta..
“That was the end of me that was! Obviously my family and mates are on the phone straight away when they see things like that. But coming from a manager like that if they’re saying good things about you it’s a positive. Little things like that you try not to read too much into it but people are texting you and saying look what he’s saying about you and all that. He’s managed top players in the past, so it was brilliant to hear. It’s just to keep you going, if you’re going through a good patch or a bad patch the manager will say things to try and keep your confidence up. I was doing well at the time if I recall rightly and I think he was just trying to get that bit extra out me, and by saying that he thought it could have happened. No doubt he didn’t mean it because they’re two of the best players to have ever played in my lifetime.”
Houllier handed Bannan his best run in the team to date with 6 consecutive starts in November 2010 during which time he created Albrighton’s goal to draw with Fulham but otherwise like the season as a whole it was a barren time for Villa.
Bannan thereafter would be in and out of Houllier’s side making just 5 starts before being loaned out in March and April 2011 to Leeds United as he had spent time with Derby and Blackpool in 2009 and 2010.
In total Bannan had 19 appearances to his name under Houllier to go with his 2 under O’Neill.
Bannan’s career prove far more rosy under Houllier’s replacement Alex McLeish with the young Scot making 34 appearances scoring once and creating 3 goals in a team set up with anything but progressive attacking in mind.
Villa’s relegation near miss under Alex McLeish prompted yet another managerial change and the arrival of Paul Lambert who brought with him a policy of recruiting and playing lower league talent.
Bannan should have been at the head of this queue and indeed for a time it looked like he would be an integral part of Lambert’s approach making 16 starts to the turn of 2013 however thereafter his appearances became more limited as Lambert’s results became ever more damaging.
Bannan had the misfortune to be in the Lambert team that recorded Villa’s worst ever defeat in all competitions - a 0-8 lost Chelsea on Sunday, 23 December 2012.
Bannan would make just 7 more starts for Villa before his final game on Sunday, 31 March 2013 and despite the fact Bannan was vastly superior to the intake Paul Lambert had brought to the club in 2012-13 he was sold to Crystal Palace in September 2013 for a fee of £1,890,000 without kicking another ball in anger for the club.
Lambert, as he had with numerous other more than capable players, placed Bannan in the ‘bomb squad’ and excluded him from training and team selection. The idiocy was plain for all to see.
“That was a hard one to take because I wasn’t a troublemaker or anything. I’d come in, worked hard in training, done what I had to do, but for whatever reason I wasn’t going to feature in the plans. But what I didn’t like was I had to train with the reserve team and stuff like that. I remember saying that day would it be alright if I could train with the first team until I got something but he was like ‘No, I want my squad that’s going ahead next season altogether and the other ones trying to get moves, elsewhere’.”
“I was like ‘fair enough’. We never argued, it kind of ended amicably, but it could have been dealt with better. When I signed for Palace I think they took over my last year, so I would have been going into my last season at Villa. I would have had the following season left. Looking back now, I went to Palace, I wouldn’t say I regretted it, but Alan Hutton was in the same boat. He stuck around and got back in. I didn’t want to leave, I was happy, my family were here, all my friends were here, obviously I was at the club that I wanted to be at. So I don’t know if I’d have maybe have stayed around I might have got in as the season went on, but he made it obvious that I wasn’t going to be part of it.”
Bannan though wasn’t finished with Villa and remained a fervent supporter of the club - even as he went on to have an influential career at Sheffield Wednesday - always to be known as a Villa boy.
“Yeah, I’m still a Villa fan, of course. From a young age the Blues-Villa derby has been a thing. I played in a few myself. They (the Blues fans) kind of carried it on to be honest. I wouldn’t say I was a major player like Gabby Agbonlahor or right now with Jack Grealish. I was only there for a bit and I wouldn’t have been the main player. When I started playing against them they would boo me, so I would think ‘Oh right this is a bit weird’. Obviously me not liking them anyway from growing up as a kid it stays with you until you die really.”