RIVERRUN, PAST JOSÉ AND ANTONIO’S
There must be something in the London water. Well, of course there is, it’s jobby; thanks to the shower in charge of the country, there’s tonnes of the stuff bobbing up and down the Thames. But it’s also an idiom and, you might recall, back in 2015, José Mourinho responding to one simple question after his Chelsea side lost at home to Southampton – “What did you make of that?” – with a passionate seven-minute soliloquy. “I don’t run away,” began its highlight. “If the club wants to sack me, they have to sack me. I want to carry on, no doubt, no doubt.” It was a robust defence of his position, particularly impressive given that nobody had previously questioned it at the time. Within a couple of months, he had gone.
Eight years on, and we move from the west of the city to north, and another similarly bold long-form managerial gambit. With neat narrative symmetry, this also came after a Saints-infused debacle, with Spurs blowing a 3-1 lead at St Mary’s with just 13 minutes to play. After a 3-3 draw snatched from the jaws of victory against the bottom team in the division, Antonio Conte was asked just two questions in the post-match press conference. Now, Football Daily needs to double-check the transcript, but if memory serves one of those questions was “Are we all done here?” and the other was “Does anybody fancy a pint?” However, Conte addressed them both from a broader philosophical angle, taking the opportunity to wander off piste and explore the very concept of Tottenham Hotspur in molecular detail.
The resulting 10-minute existential exercise included words such as “unacceptable”, “selfish”, “players”, “staff”, “club” and “owner”, and culminated with “they can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change, believe me”. As diatribes go, it was of Olympic standard, netting a full house of 6.0s with a high tariff for sheer chutzpah, but like poor José back in the day, it was also one likely to signal its author’s demise. Rumours have since intensified that the dressing room is lost and the club are considering the Italian’s future, with Daniel Levy unlikely to have taken kindly to being called out so publicly. With the relationship seemingly beyond repair, we wouldn’t be surprised if, as you read this, Levy is angrily stuffing a P45 into an envelope, as famous Spurs fan Peter Cook would have surely appreciated, addressed to “Conte, London”.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I come from Rotterdam South, I can take a beating, right? I don’t want to say too much about it. Everything gets blown up at some point, but it is certainly not normal. We will speak to the club and then maybe say more” – Groningen defender Jetro Willems shrugs off a blow to the head from one of his own team’s fans after crowd trouble marred their 2-0 Eredivisie loss to Heerenveen.
Perhaps it’s just my anecdotal experience as a Catholic schoolboy that had to go church every Sunday until I was 16, but I always thought that the causality was the other way around to David Baddiel and, that for most of the congregation, God actually filled a football-shaped hole. Having said that, most of them were Spurs fans so they were probably better off ignoring football and believing there was a god” – Noble Francis.
In Friday’s News, Bits and Bobs (full email edition) and the mention of Erik ten Hag dead-batting Manchester United ownership questions, I was disappointed to see that you went for a very traditional ‘said’ rather than something funky from the parped, honked, etc stable. ‘I just met them, we shake hands, but I am focused on the game,’ he Eddie-Howed, gives so much more context, in my opinion” – Maurice Hope.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Noble Francis.