In the end it was Sol Bamba who said what everyone was thinking.
His outspoken interview on the final day of last season – a critique of the running of Leeds United – had the potential to kill his career at Elland Road; a player going out in a hail of bullets.
In that respect it is true to say that Bamba’s comments were for the benefit of everyone other than him. He wanted to turn his loan from Palermo into a permanent deal and his family were anxious to stay in England.
“I suppose there was a bit at stake,” he says, “but I wasn’t thinking like that.”
Bamba called for the club’s senior management and specifically owner Massimo Cellino to “take good decisions for the club and not for anyone personally. Just for the club.”
It exposed a loss of patience in an experienced player who saw problems and agendas at Elland Road and refused to stay quiet.
“If (Cellino) thinks I shouldn’t say it, that’s up to him,” Bamba said. “I speak the truth.”
What Cellino thought of the interview is not known but the honesty of it might have resonated with him. Bamba was signed permanently in June, arriving despite protracted talks which Cellino was happy to stick with, and his choice remarks were not an issue. On the contrary, his transfer came with the captaincy.
The centre-back feels too that many of his bones of contention have been dealt with in the months since he spoke out. Leeds have a head coach with apparent authority and a substantial backroom team below him. The club’s signings have been sensible and more logical than the influx a year ago, if not so numerous.
Bamba, 30, does not regret speaking his mind. “It was clear to everyone what was happening,” he says. “It was a delicate moment for everyone involved with the club but what I said needed to be said, whether by me or by someone else.
“I wasn’t trying to cause trouble or make a name for myself. It just got to the stage where I wasn’t happy with a lot of what was going on, the way it was at Leeds. If the club did listen to that then I’m glad. I wasn’t trying to start a fight with anyone. I just wanted things to change. And to be fair, they have.