kohler, juventus

Final thoughts on Conte Departure

By tdf, July 18, 2014

Beppe Marotta Juventus

Some fans have blamed Beppe for the departure of Conte…

It astonishes me to find a fan as committed and intelligent as yourself seriously suggesting that Beppe Marotta is to blame for the recent upheaval and so heavy is his culpability that he should be shown the door. The vast majority of the players who have brought us such brilliant domestic success over the last three seasons were brought to the club by Marotta and Paratici. It wasn’t Conte, it was the dynamic duo in charge of our scouting and player procurement who brought to the club Lichsteiner, Asamoah, Bonucci, Barzagli, Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal, Tevez and Llorente. They did not move to Juve solely or even largely due to Conte.

Anyone who knew Conte as a manager has witnessed and felt the awkwardness produced by his tendency to give his all, demand the total commitment of his players and strive to win at all costs, as well as bouts of capriciousness and a churlish lack of the very professionalism which has always been part of the club’s values. Last season alone he insulted Capello, Prandelli and in my opinion the club as a whole, including its fans, staff and players, when deriding the potential of the squad to compete in the champions league.

Indeed, he was crunched during the disgusting match-rigging affair, yet one of the true signs of greatness is how one comports oneself during adversity. On this score, Conte has failed miserably and shown himself ill-prepared for maintaining his own dignity and the dignity of the club he represents when he feels pushed into a corner and eager to come out swinging. It is Conte v The World.

Why do you think Coman signed for us? Solely due to Conte? I think differently. I believe that the youngster saw how Pogba has progressed, yet also is well aware of another frenchman who excelled in our colours; Platini.

When Vidal signed for Juve, he was already coveted by one of the finest clubs in the world. He chose us over Bayern. Not because of Conte, but for other reasons. How could he have chosen us over Conte when he had no idea how Conte would perform as manager, for when the manager signed for us, he was hardly coming off a history of managerial glory.

Did the squad fail in Europe last season? Or did Conte fail in Europe? The inability to transfer any of the fine domestic form to either the champions league or the Europa league must be seen as Conte’s failings. Even the Grand Motivator himself failed to motivate the players for Europe, where we seemed more often than not listless, fearful and lacking confidence of any kind. We looked atavistically half decent against Real yet were wretched against Gala and Copenhagen, hardly wonderful in the run to the semis of the Europa, and only competent in the return leg where only victory would put us through against a very well organized, hungrier Benfica side. Yes, I wrote HUNGRIER. Conte was a master at projecting and inspiring Hunger for our domestic form, but in Europe last season, he simply could not manage such a feat.

It is all too easy for a manager who fails, to blame the players, blame the club, but not once mention that maybe, just possibly, there is a very slim chance that perhaps, as a manager, he has much to learn on the continental stage.

If I believe, and I do believe, that he has simply run out of energy, then still I despise his pathetic and potentially damaging decision to stay on at the club until the second day of pre-season with transfers still up in the air. That is a bad show all round, and one for which I can blame not anyone but the man himself, Conte. However, if I believe that his stance is truly something along the lines of…
“I have achieved great things in Italy with a club which was always closest to my heart as a player. I feel that Roma and others could challenge us more fiercely next season and I cannot stand the idea of achieving less in Serie A. My first attempt at Europe was brilliant, the second a wretched disaster…for I thought what was good enough for Serie A was good enough for Europe. It simply cannot be my fault, because I have unerring faith in my own abilities, so it must be the players, yes, the players I loyally protect, treat as if they were my own sons, then tell the world they are not good enough to progress in the champions league, which surely they will understand, for they can only go as far as I lead them…Yes, I deserve unlimited resources, I deserve to manage the best in the world, and I do not need to prove I can succeed against top draw opposition on a lesser budget like Simeone, no no no, I am Conte, I am the new Mourinho…’

If that is his stance, then I am happy to see him leave. He can go eat a bowl of fuck.

kohler, juventus

Jurgen Kohler – One of my first Juventino idols.

I have supported the club since the 91/92 season. When I first questioned of my mother why I had a surname which seemed out of place amongst the Taylors and Smiths and Browns at my medway town primary school in Kent (UK) and she told me I was half italian by blood. With this newfound understanding of my heritage I found reason to expand my focus beyond the horrific experiences of heading to Priestfield with my mate’s father on the weekends to watch the Gills. I found Kohler, Carrera, Baggio and…Conte. And I fell in love quickly, not just with the players, but with the club they represented.

Since then, my allegiance has steadily grown, blossomed and become a part of who I am, as a football supporter, and as a man. My support is for Juventus, not for any one player, nor for any one manager. I question whether some of you support Juve or Conte. For they are not one and the same. Conte himself has proven that beyond any doubt with his appalling behaviour.

Yes, I credit his honesty, his heart on the sleeve antics, to which I can relate, for both good and ill, but I question his love for the club. He has not yet learned to suffer, so as to truly appreciate the glory of success when it comes. And dare I say, the same can be said of many of the crowd who are suggesting everyone but Conte as responsible for the present turmoil. Even before a ball has been kicked of the new season!

To UNCONDITIONALLY want the best for someone is the basis of any form of true love. Conte’s version of ‘love’ for Juventus appears far closer to Infatuation. And it is an Infatuation for Conte at Juve, not for Juve as a club. Which is such a shame, for as a player, he gave his all and showed magnificent commitment to the cause. As a manager…it is now factually not the same story.

The way our mercato operates is not solely dependent on the manager, as so many have said (rumours of the resignation born of a lack of influence in transfers). Beppe, Paratici and their team of scouts focus on proven and developing talent. They make lists of potential targets throughout the season. Then consult the manager about these lists during the season and especially so during the mercato windows. If you believe that Conte left partly due to a lack of autonomy over transfers, then our lists will remain the same as they were, and are dependent, as they were, on financial matters. And the tactical approach of the manager.

alvaro morata, juventus

Alvaro Morata – At worst we have two seasons of an ultra-talented young forward who then moves for 35m. Could be worse

Morata remains interesting. Evra will be useful if he comes, hardly a major loss if he does not. Iturbe would have been very encouraging, but it remains to be seen whether he can reproduce his Verona form for a side which will face very defensive minded opponents who are well aware of his talents, and for 22m+ it is a punt I am happy to avoid. There is also the point to make of the player’s desire. Vidal joined us for a meagre sum when he could of been off to Munich. Iturbe has simply chosen the quickest path to riches at the second best club in Italy. I am less than bothered about losing out on a player who clearly had little desire for Juve, and huge desire simply for money, which is understandable, yet also makes him seem less than a major loss.

We remain the strongest squad in Italy. I do not see any players at the club who have progressed noticeably because of Conte. It is fair to suggest that Pogba has matured a little, but how much of that is down to Conte and how much is that is down to simply giving a chance to a phenomenal natural talent? Who else has become a better player under Conte? Marchisio has depreciated, partly due to Pogba’s emergence. Bonucci is the same player. As are all the rest. Asamoah at LWB has worked out okay, yet is that a master stroke on Conte’s part? Or moreover, a sign of the player’s work-rate and determination which would be seen even more brilliantly if he had been given the chance at CM. What of Marrone? A player who clearly sees himself as a regista who Conte decided was best tested as an understudy to Bonucci? And then there is the Ziegler routine…A player whom despite our lack of any quality at LWB, Conte deemed unworthy of even a chance in a single competitive fixture.

Tactically, what has Conte done since altering his tried and tested 442/4-2-4 to include Vidal? How often has he shown his tactical progress after or even before the first whistle? He subs likes for like, or Padoin for an offensive player to shore up a game. Our game plan is always the same, which makes us predictable. Strong enough to beat the majority in Serie A because we are stronger, but in Europe, where he faces managers who are tactically pro-active? We fail.

I am not going to suggest that Allegri is a wonderful move. Yet bringing logic into the fray leads to the conclusion that he is far from the worst choice. He has won manager of the year, played exciting football at Cagliari. He has won a scudetto. His Milan period ended in a shambles which suggested and still suggests that the problems lie in the upper management (sell of your stars, bring in a motley crew of odd parts, fire your coach, bring in an ex club legend, sack him within a matter of months, bring in another club legend with zero experience at senior management).

It seems wise to look on the bright side. Try supporting the Gills for a season and see how you fare with such constant misery! Yet seriously, I hope the recent flurry of hysteria causes a few of you to head off to FIFA, FM and the real life clubs who can fulfill your expectations of grandeur.

Support the club. Not just the manager. Not just any individual. Only the club.

Forza Juve

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