SOL BAMBA has played all over Europe during a career that has taken the powerfully-built defender from Paris to Edinburgh and on to the north-east coast of Turkey.
The 30-year-old Ivory Coast international also played for Leicester City in the less than stable days under Sven Goran Eriksson and he was binned by Palermo just one appearance into a three-year contract with the Serie A club.
So, when Bamba describes the current goings-on at Leeds United as “ridiculous” and something unprecedented in his career then it underlines how disruptive the uncertainty has been surrounding head coach Neil Redfearn and suspended assistant Steve Thompson, not to mention the recent farce that saw six players cry off at short notice from an away game.
“I can’t hide my feelings,” said the United defender, whose loan spell at Elland Road came to an end with a stirring display in a goalless draw with Rotherham United that could also prove to be Redfearn’s swansong as head coach.
“When some things are bad, you have to say it. This is a huge club. But you can’t give out this image to the football world.
“I have been around quite a few clubs, but I have never experienced this. The people upstairs have to make the right decision because it is sad for the club and the city.
“The people in charge need to take good decisions for the club. Not for anyone personally, just for the club, and to listen to the fans as well because the fans are the heart of the club.
“What happened to Thommo (who was suspended with no explanation shortly before Easter) was tough. He was doing a wonderful job and, as soon as he left, we lost five on the bounce.
“The manager was affected and the players as well. I think he deserved better.”
Elland Road’s largest crowd of the season certainly made clear their feelings over how poorly Redfearn, who hopes to speak to Massimo Cellino this week now the owner’s ban by the Football League is over, has been treated.
Amid several chants in support of the lifelong Leeds fan, supporters also sang ‘Time to go, Massimo’ to underline how public opinion has swung against the once-popular Italian in recent weeks.
Handing Redfearn his P45 would only further blacken Cellino’s name in the city, especially if the removal of a figure who has played a key role in the development of Sam Byram, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt et al was followed by those very same youngsters also heading out of LS11.
The current impasse is, clearly, doing no one any favours, not least out-of-contract pair Rudy Austin and Aidy White, neither of whom has been spoken to by the powers-that-be, and the seven loanees.
Asked about his own future, central defender Bamba said: “I want to stay at the club, but not for the wrong reasons. If he (Cellino) decides he doesn’t want to keep me because of what I have said, that is up to him.
“I just can’t hide my feelings. When I think someone deserves something I will say it. If he thinks I shouldn’t have said it, that is up to him. But I am just telling the truth.
“This is the first time I have ever seen anything like this and I have been around quite a few clubs. It is a shame, because the club deserves better.”
The final day of the season had got off to a light-hearted start as Rotherham manager Steve Evans, as he had promised to do if his team were safe from relegation, arrived sporting his holiday gear.
Flip-flops, a loud pair of shorts plus a sombrero were not quite suitable attire for a cold May afternoon and the Millers’ chief had changed back into his normal match-day attire by kick-off.
Despite that, there remained a feeling that both teams already had one foot on the beach once proceedings got under way.
There were chances, Austin twice going close with long-range efforts for Leeds and Danny Ward wasted Rotherham’s best opening when he comically fired straight into the face of team-mate Matt Derbyshire.
Steve Morison did get the ball in the visitors’ net just before half-time, but it was ruled out for offside and, come the final whistle, neither team could really claim to have done enough to round off the season with a victory.
The draw meant Rotherham finished five points clear of the drop zone – a respectable showing considering the club were in League Two just two years ago.
“At the start of the season the whole aim was to stay up so we have done that,” said midfielder Richard Smallwood.
“The points total we would have got without the three being deducted (for fielding an ineligible player) would have got us above the likes of Brighton, Reading and Bolton. They are all massive clubs.”
As for Evans and his beachwear, Smallwood laughed: “Fair play to the gaffer, he stuck to his promise to wear the sombrero and flip flops, although we all hope he doesn’t wear that stuff all the time.
“I am not going to buy any sombreros, but I do fancy somewhere nice and warm and to re-charge the batteries.”