Since we were relegated from the Premier League, Leeds United has had a vast number of players wear the white shirt on a temporary basis. Some of these players went on to great things after being on loan at the club: Townsend, Barkley and Butland to mention only a few. However, I can’t remember a player within that time that I wanted to sign for the club on a permanent deal more than Mr. Kyle Bartley.
To be honest, at the beginning of the season I was a little sceptical about his arrival. I didn’t know much about Bartley, but what I did know left me unconvinced, and to be fair, the first 4 weeks of the season didn’t do anything to really change my mind.
However, like most cases, I was wrong to pre-judge Bartley because, alongside Jansson, he became the foundation for everything we achieved this season.
I think the away fixture at Cardiff is when I realised the quality of the man. His performance that day was immense and became something we had the pleasure of experiencing time after time this season. I think Bartley became a senior member of the squad by proxy and this seemed to take him to another level.
56’ Cardiff now with all the pressure, but Kyle Bartley and especially Pontus Jansson are giants on the back line at the moment.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) September 17, 2016
No offence to Liam Bridcutt - who I still do rate very highly - for me, the team have played better when Bartley stepped in to captain the side. You can see Green and Bartley constantly encouraging and reorganising the younger players within the squad.
I also believe Bartley is a big factor in why Jansson has become a legend for all the supporters. Having a calm influence alongside Jansson has meant he has been able to play with passion but hasn’t lost his focus during games. That passion could have cost us if Bartley had not been solidly backing him up.
Kyle's knowledge and intelligence in making defensive decision is outstanding. I can’t remember a time when Bartley lost a defensive dual.
Moreover, I haven’t met Bartley personally, but he genuinely looks like a decent bloke which is nice to see in football these days.
I had become so emerged in the team this season, I had forgotten that players like Bartley were on loan at the club.
After the draw on Saturday, it wasn’t the fact we had missed out on the playoffs that bothered me the most. I had gone through that grieving process prior to the Norwich game so I was prepared for that. Instead, it was the realisation that this could be the last time Elland Road sees certain members of the squad again.
"If the owners don't have the vision to see that Monk is the right man to take us forward than it’s not a place for me."
I was impressed with Bartley’s confidence and strength to speak on behalf of the Leeds squad. He highlighted their feelings on the future of the club, and showed the Leeds ownership that whatever might occur in terms of who owns the club is irrelevant if they don’t give Garry Monk the contract he deserves to lead the club forward.
He uses the word ‘us’ here too which highlights he intends to stay at the club, but Bartley said it himself: no Garry Monk would mean no Kyle Bartley.
We asked in December for the board to sign Bartley permanently in January and none of us want to lose the best defender we have had at the club for years.
Garry Monk, Bartley, Pontus Jansson, Rob Green, etc. have been the foundations of the club in the 2016/17 season. Now is the time the club must look to build on those foundations by first ensuring we don’t lose any one of these players. After that, the club must give them the support and time they need together. If Radrizzani can, before long, Bartley and company will march us back to the Premier League. MOT.