South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS WATHAN Foot­ball cor­re­spon­dent chris.wathan@waleson­

CARDIFF City star Sol Bamba has opened up for the first time on just what hap­pened with his red card ram­page at Ipswich – and ad­mit­ted he was left mor­ti­fied when he re­alised his chil­dren had seen what he had done.

And he says he strug­gled to shake the dis­ap­point­ment of know­ing friends and fam­ily sim­ply didn’t recog­nise the “crazi­ness” on the Port­man Road pitch a month ago.

Bamba shocked Blue­birds fans – and man­ager Neil Warnock – when he flew into a rage against Ipswich when a poor chal­lenge from Jonathan Douglas went un­pun­ished, clash­ing with club staff and the fourth of­fi­cial be­fore even grap­pling with his own boss.

It saw the im­pos­ing de­fender slapped with an FA charge, even­tu­ally see­ing an ex­tra game added to his two game ban, and left Warnock fum­ing with his play­ers’ out-of-the-blue ac­tions.

Bamba is­sued a pub­lic apol­ogy and was clearly up­set at let­ting team­mates and Warnock down that day, but it was noth­ing com­pared to his feel­ings of dis­ap­point­ment in him­self as footage of the in­ci­dent went wide­spread.

“It was a mo­ment of crazi­ness, I think I can call it that,” says Bamba, a warm and friendly char­ac­ter who is dif­fer­ent to the en­forcer on the pitch and com­pletely re­moved from the fren­zied fig­ure at Ipswich that day.

“I thought it was a bad tackle – that’s not an ex­cuse be­cause I shouldn’t have re­acted like that at all.

“But I’m a strong player and I al­ways look to play the ball and with that one, I didn’t think it was the case.

“What hap­pened, hap­pened, but it shouldn’t have.

“When peo­ple around me saw the footage they didn’t un­der­stand, es­pe­cially my chil­dren. I have three, the youngest be­ing five, and they’d seen it be­cause they were go­ing to school with ev­ery­one talk­ing about it. I couldn’t hide from it. I was em­bar­rassed. Friends and fam­i­lies said that it’s not me, they didn’t recog­nise that per­son out there.”

Nei­ther did Warnock. Though he was quick – and per­haps jus­ti­fied – to ask whether the ref­eree could have avoided a re­ac­tion by pulling up Douglas for his foul, Bamba’s snap couldn’t have been seen com­ing.

Still, it was soon clear that not even a

tus­sle with the tow­er­ing cen­tre-back – who starred in de­fen­sive mid­field in the last league out­ing against As­ton Villa – would stop Warnock hav­ing one of his jokes.

He’d al­ready said about wish­ing he’d been a foot taller to have been able to stop the man he signed on a free af­ter a spell at Leeds ended.

“Luck­ily, the man­ager and the club were very sup­port­ive, just ask­ing to make sure it never hap­pens again, but friends and fam­ily were dis­ap­pointed as I was in my­self,” adds Bamba.

“I tried to ex­plain to them that it was a bad re­ac­tion, some­thing you can­not do.

“I had to tell them I had made a mis­take and talk to them, make sure they didn’t do some­thing like that. I was more dis­ap­pointed for them.

“I let the team down and the club down be­cause they had been mag­nif­i­cent with me, but it was my fam­ily see­ing it. I can guar­an­tee it won’t hap­pen again. I have to move on and I can apol­o­gise with my per­for­mances.”

That is some­thing Bamba has promised to the man­ager and oth­ers at the club af­ter ad­mit­ting he spoke to many to apol­o­gise, though be­lieves that the best form of sorry can come through his dis­plays.

He’s made a good start, his per­for­mance against Villa en­hanc­ing fur­ther his sta­tus as a firm fan favourite that seemed to come from just one game in a Blue­birds shirt af­ter a colos­sal de­but against Bris­tol City in Warnock’s first game in charge.

“It wasn’t bad I don’t think,” smiles Bamba, who turned 32 on the eve of the re­turn game with the Robins in to­day’s Sev­ern­side derby. “But it is al­ways more im­por­tant that the team wins the game that your own per­for­mance.

“I have never been at a club where I have been wel­comed as fast as I have here, it has all clicked for me. I think fans can see I give my best, but win­ning games is more im­por­tant.”

Not many more so than one against Bris­tol City, now on level points in the ta­ble hav­ing been 12 points clear of Cardiff when the sides met in South Wales at the start of Oc­to­ber.

“It’s mas­sive I think,” says Bamba. “The lads were all say­ing yes­ter­day it’s a six-point game. The fact it’s a derby makes it big­ger, but we want the points on the board above all. We haven’t been able to pull clear yet and it’s a weird one be­cause some of the per­for­mances have been very good, some oth­ers per­for­mances have not. We know what’s wanted from us and when we go out we need to de­liver.

“The win against Villa can def­i­nitely give us con­fi­dence and we can build on that. In this league con­sis­tency, back to back wins are key, which is what we can do here. The se­cond part of the sea­son is mas­sive for us and it starts here.”

Sol Bamba scores against Bris­tol City

Sol Bamba clashes with Blue­birds boss Neil Warnock dur­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary bust-up at Ipswich which saw the de­fender sent off

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