Leeds United captain Sol Bamba has admitted that he had “mixed feelings” when he heard that his old club Hibernian had broken their 114 year duck and won the Scottish Cup against Rangers in May.
Speaking exclusively with Young Perspective after his Leeds team played their annual preseason game with Irish side Shelbourne, Bamba said of the victory; “It was a mixed feeling because I was part of a semi-final and a final when I was there [at Hibs], but we never managed to win [the Scottish Cup]. However, I still have friends there and I know that for them and the club it’s massive and even for myself to have been involved with such a club where I had such a good relationship with the fans I was delighted for them when they won it.”
He admitted that, in keeping with stories from past employees of the Edinburgh, there had been a pressure put on players and staff to win ‘the holy grail’. “It was always said to us by the fans ‘we need to win the Scottish Cup’ and now it’s finally done the next step is of course to bring the club back to the Premiership. They’ve appointed a really good manager in Neil Lennon and I’m confident he’s going to take them back up.”
In an almost symbolic coincidence, the rain began to fall as we asked Bamba about his thoughts on the years that followed his departure, that saw the club gradually slip down the table before eventually being relegated at the hands of Hamilton Academic. “Look, the table never lies. If at the end of the season you find yourself in the relegation play-off it’s for a reason, you know? So, yeah they’re a huge club in Scotland… but something must have gone wrong behind the scenes for a team to be in that position. But as I said, I’m sure they’ll be back up from the Championship next season.”
Bamba was handed the captain’s armband at Elland Road in the Summer of 2015 and, despite being critical of the club’s owners in the past, admits it’s one of the greatest honours of his career. “I’ll never take it [being captain of Leeds] for granted,” said the Ivory Coast international. “It’s a massive honour for me, for my family, to be given the armband. I take this very seriously.”
He also claimed that there is no specific positional goal for Gary Monk’s side, and that they just want to see improvement on a manic last few years. “We want to do better than last season, to be honest… We think we deserve to be in the Premier League, but to be in the Premier League you have to win matches. We’ve got a new manager with new ideas and we need to get used to that and see where it takes us.
“It would be massive [to get back to the Premiership], but it’s not going to be easy. We know that. This is arguably one of the toughest Championships for a couple of years now. But we have a huge fanbase and we want to make them proud.”
Image credit: flickr.com/paisleyorguk
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