Many Leeds United fans cringed when the Whites new management team of Garry Monk and Pep Clotet brought in Kyle Bartley on loan from former club Swansea.
Since signing Bartley in the 2012, the former Arsenal youngster has found his time at Swansea limited to just 26 appearances , another 19 appearances (five goals) coming in a half-season loan spell with Birmingham City from July 2013 to January 2014.
So bringing him to Elland Road, a cauldron of opinion at the best of times, was a move that many fans on social media drew more than a little concern about. Oh how those concerns have been answered in a manner where Bartley has played with a high degree of consistency – any concerns fading away.
Bartley has worn the captain’s armband during his time at Elland Road, scoring six times across his 44 Championship appearances this season. It is a time that could come to an end after next Saturday’ final game against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
The colossus of a central defender spoke about these things in an after-match interview with BBC Radio Leeds’ Adam Pope.
Today’s game against Norwich City, a pulsating 3-3 draw where the Whites came back from 3-0 down, was a game that saw the home side finally relinquish any reasonable grip on very slim play-off hopes. Barring results of match-fixing proportions, Bartley and his Leeds United teammates are out of the Sky Bet Championship play-offs and will have to settle for a guaranteed seventh place.
The six-goal defender said to Popey that he “was bitterly disappointed” at missing out on the play-offs saying that the way the side had let slip advantage over their rivals over the last month meant “we haven’t delivered to the levels that we set at the start of the season and throughout the season.”
Popey asked him about his future, knowing that he has a year left on his contract at the Welsh club and Bartley said that he hadn’t had any contact from the management/owners at Leeds United. He added that “as far as I’m aware and concerned, I’ll be going back to Swansea.”
However, but perhaps the most shocking point that he made in the near five-minute interview was regarding the position of Garry Monk at Leeds United. In a direct call to the owners of the club, Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani, Bartley said it was time for them to step up and sort out the direction the club needs to take.
Speaking quite abruptly on the situation the on-loan Swansea man stated: “He’s [Monk’s] been fantastic and if the owners can’t see that, and if the owners can’t get him tied down, then it probably wouldn’t be a place where I wanted to be because they need to have a vision and the manager is that vision in my eyes.”