In March 1988, syndicated cartoonist Berke Breathed took one of his main characters from his popular American comic strip Bloom County, and completely changed his character. An angry ladies’ man, a misogynist, the vilest man and an all-out sumbag, Steve Dallas was in one strip abducted by aliens and completely upended his brain and personality.
the operation, that I breathed is called “Gephardtization”, It was a mid-’80s electoral political gag which we won’t get into (the aliens’ original plan was to replace Steve’s brain with Elvis Presley’s until he threatened to sue, that was the ’80s, and you had to be there) but the end result was Steve Dallas returned to Earth Completely changed — progressive, gentle, thoughtful, caring, feminist — unlike the overgrown boy he had been up to that point. He even got a perm! Dallas stayed with his volatile personality in the strip for over a year before dramatically returning to his old self near the end of the Plum County run.
I thought of Bloom County and ol’ Steve Dallas tonight after reading the latest quotes from Antonio Conte. Conte had plenty to say in press conference comments that were taboo until early Saturday morning in the British press. He talked about player development at Tottenham and elsewhere, and how a manager can build an elite club.
Conte was asked how difficult it is to win things with a young and unproven team, with the reporter noting success spursHis opponent this weekend, Arsenal. Conti’s answers are good! Impressive, insightful, thought-provoking. But they certainly don’t look like Antonio Conte.
“It’s not difficult if you have the time and the patience. This process started at Arsenal three and a half years ago with Arteta. It’s normal when you work with the same young players and after four years they develop and become stronger,
“You have two paths you can take. You heard what [Erik] Tin Hag said about him Manchester United. He said it was really important to sign experienced players like Casemiro and Varane because they brought a winning mentality. If you want to speed up the process, it is important to bring in experienced players and winners who know how to win.
“But you have another way, and that is that you need time and patience to develop young players. We have eight or nine young players in our squad, they definitely have a bright future, but we have to keep working, with Gilles, Pape Sarr, Skippy, Sessegnon, Spence, Tanganga, Emerson He’s 23. We’re talking about a lot of young players.
“Arsenal are doing well, but don’t forget, I remember the problems they had at the start of last season. They had a lot of criticism. When I talk about time and patience, it’s not an excuse, it’s a situation I know. One way is to wait to develop these young players into stronger players. “.
Wait, did he… did he just… I mean, when he was in.. but…
This doesn’t look like the Antonio Conte we thought we signed after he left intermilan In a fit of sulfur and pique. Antonio Conte was a stern maniac and demanded the expertise of highly paid players who could instantly transform the club into one that could play the way he wanted and also compete for trophies. Developing young players? Preaching with time and patience? Who is this man and what did they do to Antonio Conte?
It sure feels like a new leaf, right? Not that old Conte has been completely written off – he has yet to sign an extension to his initial contract that expires this summer, something that hangs over the head of every potential transfer this month, as well as the future of Harry Kane.
But this Antonio Conte is very different from the person we thought we had. It even makes it seem like he wants to stick around… past this season? Maybe longer?
“I expect to try to improve, get a second part of the season and do our best. So far, we’ve done well because we’ve stayed in this situation and go into the next round of the season. Champions League And fight for FA cupWe’re doing a good job.
“We have to keep going and we have the ambition to improve. When I talk to my players I always say if you want to try to improve everyone needs to have an objective to improve and reach another level. If we can do that we will see a team that will grow. For sure, we have There is only one way to do this, and that is to work.
“The only thing I’m asking is to keep fingers crossed and we don’t have injuries because we don’t have a very deep squad to take on so many injuries. That’s the only situation I’m a little worried about. Otherwise, if I stay with the squad, and all the players are available, I think we can achieve proper satisfaction.” for us “.
It may have taken a real challenge – and Tottenham certainly proved a challenge – this season to get that side of Conte out. Maybe he’s found out that with this team, this season, this project, he can’t do things the way he usually does and walk away from it. Daniel Levy and Tottenham may have found a way to unlock Conte’s softer, gentler side, and Tottenham now have a long-term project manager they’ve been looking for since Mauricio Pochettino left the club.
Or maybe he was abducted by aliens and brainwashed. Who do you know. All I know is… I kinda like it!