Darrell Clarke has told The Coaches’ Voice that it was not a difficult decision to reject Leeds United and stay at Bristol Rovers back in 2016.
Clarke came onto Leeds’s radar after guiding the Gas to back-to-back promotions in his first two full seasons at the Memorial Ground.
Whites owner Massimo Cellino was looking for a new head coach despite Steve Evans remaining on the club’s books after he had taken charge of the side during the previous campaign.
The Yorkshire Post reported that Leeds were discussing potential compensation with Bristol Rovers regarding a move for Clarke. But he ultimately decided to stay and sign a new three-year deal.
And Clarke – who is now in charge at Walsall – insisted that it was not a tough call to reject the chance to head to Elland Road.
“After two really intense years, I took a few weeks off to really try and switch off,” he told The Coaches’ Voice. “But it wasn’t easy. I was getting calls from agents about players. And being linked with other clubs myself – one of which was Leeds United.
“At the time, it was a pretty easy decision to turn it down. I felt Bristol Rovers deserved my loyalty. After we’d been relegated, the fans could have lynched me – but they gave me the opportunity to continue the job. They gave me their support.”
Leeds appeared to benefit in the short-term from not appointing Clarke. Garry Monk came in and took the club agonisingly close to the play-offs in the Championship.
They remain in the second tier. But they came even closer to promotion last year and look set to be in the hunt again this term under Marcelo Bielsa.
Clarke’s managerial career has not quite kicked on as many would have expected. He is now plying his trade in the fourth tier. But it would be little surprise if Leeds prove to not be the last Championship team to come calling.