“This club has got a special place in my heart.”

After learning about Middlesbrough exit, Sol Bamba has penned an emotional letter to the club and admits he can’t thank fans enough for their support this season.

The club’s retained list was confirmed earlier today with Chris Wilder deciding against offering Bamba, Lee Peltier and Neil Taylor new deals at the club. However, captain Jonny Howson has been offered the chance to extend his five year stay on Teesside.

The 37-year-old joined the club last summer having only declared himself cancer free after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier in the year. The idea behind his signing was to develop a coaching role and assist with the Under-23’s side whilst playing in the first-team.

However, Bamba went on to make 29 appearances in all competitions this season producing some imperious performances in defence.

The defender had a moment to savour when he scored in penalty shootout in Boro’s FA Cup win over Manchester United back in February.

“On a personal note, it’s been an unbelievable season for me” said the seasoned centre-half.

“I never thought I would play as much, I never thought I would be involved as much as well behind the scene and I really appreciate it and enjoy it.

“I want to thank everyone in the football club because they give me that opportunity. They are good people and that, to me, is the most important thing.”

Chris Wilder has been holding individual talks with players today over their futures as he begins his large scale rebuild of the squad for next season which is where Bamba learned his fate.

“I had a chat to the gaffer and this is what I said” he continued.

“We are football players but first and foremost, we are human beings. For me, the main thing is the person you are. Every single person in this football club and the players, they are all very good people. That will take you a long way and that’s how I know this club is going to go back again and be successful. I will definitely be in touch for a long time with every single one of you because this club is special for me.

“I’ve played for a lot of clubs for many years as well but this club has got a special place in my heart, that’s for sure.”

Bamba’s performances and infectious personality have endeared himself to the Boro fanbase throughout the season and has made him a hugely popular figure at the club.

The emotional central defender has always placed on record his appreciation for the support he’s been given throughout the season as he added: “I don’t even know where to start”

“Funnily enough my Mrs was saying to me when I went through my illness, I had messages from Middlesbrough fans and wished me all the best.

“When I first came here to train, the take on me has been unbelievable. I can’t even put it to words.

“I just want to thank every single one of them. I feel like I repeat myself but I really want them to understand how important they have been for me. I don’t take it for granted at all.

“I’ve played for many clubs but I’ve never had that. That is special for sure. I will never forget that and I want to give them a big thank you because that helped me going through a lot of things.

“That give me the strength to go through the season and do what I did, helping the lads as well. After the successful season we had, it could have been better, but honestly the Boro fans, they are probably the best fans in the country. I have to be honest.

“I will never thank them enough and I wish them all the best.”