Gareth Barry recently played his 600th Premier League game, joining an exclusive club of just Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard – I secretly hope that they all get matching tattoos to commemorate it and have their own WhatsApp group where they bitch about those players stuck just shy of the landmark (that’s right, we’re looking at you David James).
Without context however, the number 600 means very little. It is a big number no doubt but when you actually look at it, you begin to realise just how incredible an achievement it is. 600 games 0f football equates to approximately 5,400 minutes, which in turn is the equivalent to near five and a half weeks of solid football.
Obviously, Barry has not played a full 90 minutes in every single one of his appearances, but let us just consider that there are 11 current Premier League clubs (Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Leicester, West Brom, Stoke, Crystal Palace, Swansea, Hull, Watford, Burnley and Bournemouth) to have made fewer appearances than the former England international.
While it is no doubt an achievement to be proud of, it is perhaps worth questioning what else dear Gareth could have done with his time – after all, once you’ve played 100 games of football then they must all begin to get a bit repetitive, surely?
Maybe he wanted t0 see the world, rather than being restricted to the North of England. In those five and a half weeks he could have easily have taken a walk from Vancouver to Mexico City. Or if he’d rather a more sedate trip then London to Tokyo in a car could also have been achieved with ease.
However, once a sportstar, always a sportstar, and it could be that Gareth would want to keep his competitive edge rather than settling in to a mundane day-to-day. With that in mind, he might turn his hand to tennis where the average length of a match is normally around two hours depending on skill level.
With that in mind, he could find himself playing roughly 450 matches in his career, putting on a similar level with the likes of former world number 13, Fabio Fognini.
This is of course wild speculation, but maybe it will inspire Gareth to take up a hobby once his playing days are over. In the meantime, let us just leave him be to get on with it. After all, he must be alright at football to still be going…
Image courtesy of Marion O’Sullivan