SN Blog 112 – What a weekend of Tottenham

I last wrote a blog in June 2022.  This was something I was determined I would do better with this season however time… there is never enough time people!  Anyway, let us dive straight into why I am writing this today.  Below are quote that emerged today regarding our manager Antonio Conte.

“The news I can tell you, with certainty, is that Antonio Conte will leave Tottenham at the end of the season. There was no spark; his contract is expiring and the club has not asked him for a renewal.”
“The club does not like the frequent jibes. Conte wants players to win, while the club prefers to trade, the feeling with the club has not clicked. His family, among other things, has remained in Italy.”
These quotes came from Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.  Now later in the day (Sunday 22nd January 2023) these remarks were taken back, slightly as the journalist expressed that these were just his opinion and not something he was told fact.  However this came after a social media storm from Spurs fans who reacted to the news.
So a question, why should this journalist saying his opinion carry any weight?  Forgetting his reputation for breaking stories and accuracy there is also the fact he is close friends with both Fabio Paratici (the current football director at Spurs, will come back to him) and Antonio Conte himself.
It is therefore very difficult to believe that this journalist, who is that close to these two men, is wrong when he says what he said.  So, Conte is running down his deal and leaving.  There are a number of factors now we know this worth thinking about.
The team and current form.
A number of people have commented of late that the team have the approach of a team who are no longer playing for their manager or when at the end of a cycle, sadly we as Spurs fans have seen that all to often and now saying it I imagine a number of people are thinking.. damn.. yeah, that is how it looks.
The personal situation.
Conte has lost close friends of late and his family remain living in Italy as since he took the Spurs job he has been living in a hotel in London.  Although I am sure this a luxurious lifestyle Conte is a family man and I think all of us understand when you lose people you love you just want to be around your family.  Something that is is not happening for him and would easily heighten any feeling of home sickness.
Daniel Levy and ENIC.
When Antonio Conte joined the club he was given certain assurances around the ambitions.  He, like many before him, looked at the squad and thought he could improve what was there and he trusted the owners would replace those he felt could not improve.  His first window saw the arrival of Kulusevski and Bentancur which improved our first team and helped us get to the top four and Champions League football.
With UCL secured the club did something we had never seen before and that is actually invest money from the owners to allow for transfer business to be done and not have it dependent on player sales, something we seem to continue to struggle to do.  It was a shock to us all but we all felt it was a sign that the club in appointing Conte were ready to make a change in approach and actually start to operate like a “big club” however as the Summer window closed it was clear by the deals done we were still a little short and now as we are 23 days into the January transfer window with NOTHING done we are again back to where we were as a club, nothing has actually changed.  Conte has seen that.  If you were him would you commit to a new deal based on what you are seeing?
The next big thing to discuss right now is Fabio Paratici, the clubs football director who as of a few days ago was charged in Italy for his part in the latest scandal from Juventus. The Turin club were handed a 15-point deduction for this season in Serie A as the court not only took on board the prosecutor’s recommended sanctions but increased them for the club and individuals involved.
Paratici got the biggest individual ban for what the court saw as his part in it all with a 30-month temporary ban from carrying out activities within the FIGC, with a request for an extension for that suspension to hold across the game within UEFA and FIFA.
So, in short, Paratici cannot operate within football in Italy but in England he is technically allowed UNLESS UEFA / FIFA uphold the Italian FA decision and extend the ban to every association.
Those are the facts but possibly a bigger question is should Tottenham keep Paratici on now that he has been charged?  Is it a good look for the club to have a director of football banned from operating in the market he knows best and with a dark cloud over him full stop going forward.
So this brings me to Daniel Levy and the decisions he has ahead of him right now.  Keep Paratici but accept he could end up banned or fire him and have to accept that once again an appointment he has made has failed.  This is one of a long line of people who have filled a recruitment role at the club, all appointed by Levy and all now on the way out the door…
Add to that the situation with Conte.  Here is a manager who publicly, via his friend in the media, has made it clear he plans to run out his contract.  The team are playing badly, results are poor and with this news that the manager wants out it is unlikely the players will feel motivated.  So, does Levy pull the trigger now, ending Contes time in charge early and hope to appoint someone quickly who can give the squad a bounce going into the final part of the season and then rebuild from the summer.
There is only man who is likely for Daniel Levy to turn too and that of course is former head coach Pochettino.  He is near universally liked by the fans and would be given a chance by most to turn things around BUT is this a step to far with Levy?  AND would Pochettino even want to return given that nothing has changed in the running of the club since he begged for funds to re-build and instead was sacked so Levy could appoint Jose Mourinho.
If you were Pochettino would you return knowing the man that sacked you is still running the show and is still running it the same way?  The issue is and perhaps always has been Daniel Levy.  I cannot think of any other industry where a CEO of a massive company could make appointments of key staff and get it wrong over and over and keep his job.  Paratici and Conte for me were Levy’s final roll of the dice but it has, once again, failed where the club act like they want to be a big club but do not operate like one.
Once again it feels like we are at the end of a cycle.  21 years ENIC have owned us and Levy has taken charge.  Do we really think anything will change with another new manager and/or new DOF appointed?
I honestly do not know what the short term or long term plans are for the club I support.  I know I am sick of feeling stuck in an endless cycle where a glass ceiling exists and sadly where the glass ceiling is in place from our owners / chairman.  My hope is and has been that this will change but with Conte now heading towards the exit, the DOF facing jail and Levy basically back running all matters (did he ever actually stop?) I guess we have to face the facts that until someone vastly wealthy wants to buy us we are never going to change.
-Admin SJ
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