Sol Bamba signed off from his loan at Leeds United with an outspoken attack on the club’s hierarchy, saying he was willing to risk his chance of a full-time contract at Elland Road by “speaking the truth”.
The centre-back is hoping to secure an offer from Leeds which makes his transfer from Palermo permanent this summer but he hit out at the running of United this season and claimed “the person in charge has to do better for our club and the supporters.”
Owner Massimo Cellino is back in control of Leeds today after completing a three-month disqualification imposed on him by the Football League and he will turn his attention towards next season following the end of Leeds’ Championship campaign.
United completed a difficult term with a 0-0 draw at home to Rotherham United on Saturday.
Cellino’s first full season since his takeover last April has been affected by constant controversy and Bamba, who joined Leeds on a temporary basis in January, refused to disguise his frustration with recent events, specifically the suspension of assistant boss Steve Thompson.
Head coach Neil Redfearn could himself be on his way out of the club with his contract as head coach set to expire shortly and Bamba admitted he would be “very disappointed” if the 49-year-old was not retained.
The former Leicester defender urged Cellino and United’s board to take heed of the mood among Leeds’ support and said he was not prepared to protect his own prospects by remaining silent.
“It doesn’t matter,” Bamba said. “I want to stay at the club but not for the wrong reasons. If he (Cellino) decides not to keep me because of what I’m saying, that’s up to him.
“I can’t just hide my feelings and when I think someone deserves something, I say it. If (Cellino) thinks I shouldn’t say it, that’s up to him. I speak the truth.
“It’s a great club and everything is there; the fanbase, training ground and stadium. The people upstairs have to make the right decision because it’s sad for the club and the city.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with me but it doesn’t matter. The club deserves better and the person in charge has to do better for our club and the supporters.
“We can’t give this image to other clubs and the football world. Leeds have a great history and what we’ve shown the last few years is wrong. I’ve embraced being here, it’s a great club. It’s ridiculous when you know the club. It deserves better.”
Thompson was removed from his post with seven games to go, suspended by sporting director Nicola Salerno who has been absent ever since.
“It was tough for everyone to take because he was doing a wonderful job,” Bamba said. “People don’t know but behind the scenes he was very, very good. The results showed that as well. Personally I was hurt when Thommo left.
“Some of the players think it was the right decision and fine. But I think it wasn’t.”
Redfearn took charge of Leeds as head coach in November, replacing Darko Milanic. United were in serious relegation trouble but a strong run of form in the early months of 2015 left the club in 15th position after their last match on Saturday.
Asked about Redfearn’s future, Bamba said: “Everyone can see he knows the club. There’s no other man better for the job. I’d be very disappointed if he left.
“It doesn’t matter what happens to me or the players, he deserves to stay. He’s very good. If that was me I’d go mad so for him to keep his head...
“I think the people in charge need to take good decisions for the club and not for anyone personally – just for the club. Listen to the fans as well because the fans are the heart of the club. When they give their opinion, sometimes you have to listen.
“We saw when we played against the best in this league, we can compete. We’re not far away and we showed that this season. I think we’re not far away.”
Bamba has another two years on his contract at Palermo but Leeds negotiated an option to keep him permanently.
“I’m desperate to come back here,” he said. “It’s not only England, I love the club, but I’m like everyone – we have to wait because we don’t know what’s going to happen.”