When we talk about ‘transition seasons’ at football clubs we generally mean that the club has moved from a previous poor performance, generally involving a parting of ways with the coach, to being on the road to better times. This has been a transition season for Spurs but, rather than being on the road to better times, we’ve reached the better times already.

Such is the quality of Antonio Conte, he has allowed our ‘transition season’ to essentially be a transition half-season. Even during the transition he got us winning.

But it’s the transition off the pitch that, for me, has been more important. I have made no secret of the fact that being a Spurs fan has been very difficult for me during the last couple of years. I felt completely disenfranchised and devoid of hope when he was our manager. I could not see any semblance of a workable system and there was nothing to dream on.

Nuno Espírito Santo wasn’t him (good) but he also wasn’t really anything (bad), and it always seemed like such a terrible fit. Fortunately it was a fleeting visit. Antonio Conte’s appointment felt massive because of his coaching ability and his record, but I did worry a little about how I’d find his deliberately abrasive and confrontational approach. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve adjusted to it.

I doubt that he’s ever going to occupy the same space that Mauricio Pochettino does for me — partly because the chances are that we’ll be a quick stop-off on his journey to a Galáctico, that’s how brilliant he is — and partly because I don’t believe that he is quite as invested in the club. Fair enough. But seeing him waving his arms on the touchline to urge support, seeing the way he has us playing, seeing the way that he has made use of some of the previously under-performing talent at his disposal… this is what it’s all about.

We go on and on as fans about what’s better: winning a cup or a top four finish. The truth, at least for me, is that unity is more important than either. If I feel bought into something, if I feel that we’re moving in the right direction, I can forgive almost anything. And I’ve got that back in spades. What is it they constantly say up the road? Trust the process. Except whereas they put blind faith in their long-winded and wasteful process, we have found a slick and efficient one.

So whatever happens today — and hopefully it’s the absolute obliteration of Norwich City Football Club as an entity (no offence, Canaries, I just want us to end on a high) — I want to thank Antonio Conte for bringing the spark back into my relationship with Spurs. I didn’t need handcuffs, role-playing, light spanking, a third party. I just needed direction.

COYS. I love you.

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  1. It always has to be manager versus manager for some Spurs fans, doesn't it? Pochettino's on a pedestal despite five years of not quite succeeding, and - presumably (since no one apparently knows who signs players for Spurs) acquiescing to N'Dombele, Lo Celso, Aurier and Sanchez coming to the club for big money - thereby lumbering his successor with half a team of deadbeats, but it's 'his'(Mourinho's!) fault? I like Conte, but it's clear that he caught Levy at just the right time, in full panic mode, and willing to do whatever was necessary to avoid the disaster which was looming under Nuno earlier this season. How else do you explain the effective free transfers of Alli and Aurier, and the loans of N'Dombele, Lo Celso and Gil? Four players who cost the club a reported £165,000,000,and another valued at £90,000,000 four years ago, now virtually written-off? Who knows whether any of our previous managers would have done better without Levy's interference, but Conte's the only one given the chance, and Mourinho's overall record is head and shoulders above Conte's - he might be about to lift a trophy with Roma, leaving Spurs as his only managerial blank - now, there's a surprise!
    1. Fair points but Mourinho style was never going to keep fans happy. I think he should have been allowed to finish the season. The club then bizzarely bypassed Fonseca, considered Gattuso and appointed Nuno on a short term contract. Strange messages to fans & players. I couldn't be happier with Conte abd I like his apparent honesty. I have nothing against Josè other than his approach to the game. Good luck to him, I'm pleased he won a title with Roma but I'm also glad that we have moved on. Conte throws his heart & soul into a ckub. Maybe that's why he doesn't last a long time, but the results speak for themselves. Forza, Spurs!
  2. And credit Levy for holding on to Kane and for sanctioning those financial losses for the sake of the team.
  3. I wish Poch came back. Conte unfortunately alienates creative players like Lo Celso, Ndombele, Dele, Winks, Bergwjin, etc.
    1. I think it's nore that he wants total committment and consistency. You could not say that was what Lo Celso or N'Dombele brought, as good as they are. I see Kulusevski & Bentancur as very creative players, not to mention Son & Kane who are virtually irreplaceable. I guess what he does want is a team that works very hard & runs like a well-oiled machine. That can only happen when players give up a little of their individual expressiveness for the greater good. But I don't see that it was so different under Pochettino.
  4. I can't help but wonder whether this is the peak of Conte's tenure. I don't think he's got Tottenham DNA. Honestly if Arsenal & Manchester United didn't completely capitulate, we would have been 7th. Even though we only had 1 game/week and plenty of time to prepare, we often played extremely boring football and had very embarrassing results - e.g. getting knocked out of FA Cup by Middlesbrough... It's good to be back in Champions League but Conte has poor European record so don't see us competing there either. But the most concerning thing is that Conte only seems to have 1 system and can't coach players. Why couldn't he get Reguilon to play LWB? Why did he alienate Lo Celso and Ndombele? Why didn't Bergwjin get more chances after his heroics against Leicester?
    1. Do you really think that's an accurate reading of the tea leaves? We very nearly caught Chelsea on points. I don't see ManU or Arsenal as better than Chelsea atm. If Conte had been here for the full season & pre-season, I would have expected a few more points than we ended up with. We beat City twice (once under Nuno of course) and held Liverpool as well. 4th place fully deserved IMO.
      1. Also, Reguilon & Emerson are not naturally Wingbacks. Conte did however get the best out of Doherty when he had been played out of his natural position by the orevioys coaches. Matt was unfortunately taken out by thar other Matt from Villa but absoluteky everyone had Doherty as hopeless at Spurs. He is also fetting some decent performances from Sessengon, Davies, Sanchez.. it's easy to put a slant on things but I don't think Conte can be accused of alienating players or not develooibg them. Most of the players who left have been patchy for all other managers as well. It's on them.
      2. A manager’s job is to coach players. It’s Conte’s job to coach players instead of threatening to leave if Levy doesn’t get big signings.
  5. i saw that conte once again said he might leave. what an incredibly toxic man. i cant wait until he is sacked or leaves. And Since spurs are not winning the league anytime soon, give the champions league money to poch and let him rebuild.

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