Thank God it’s over.
That was certainly our reaction when we heard the final whistle of Inter-Empoli.
It was also our first response to this season, full of drama with the majority of it taking place off the field.
Yes, we reached our objective to qualify for the Champions League but that doesn’t make it a successful year. If nothing else, it meant that we reached the minimum objective of the year but it certainly does not certify any progress over the previous season. Looking behind, Inter never exploited it’s full potential and the off-field drama certainly drained the players’ concentration at the most important period of the year.
Spalletti paid the price with his head. Inter couldn’t afford to start afresh without replacing him. I believe the same will happen to Icardi and Perisic, even though this depends on what the transfer market has to offer.
And now it’s Conte. It seemed that even Inter couldn’t wait longer to announce the news, with the official statement issued at 6 am CET on Friday 31st May. A date which I believe will go down in Inter’s history as the beginning of something new, of a revived Inter which will emerge from the dark ages in which for eight long years Inter were mediocre, trophyless and under great financial difficulties.
Already from his initial comments, Antonio Conte showed that he’s of a different level and stature from the coaches which we got used to in the past eight years. In just a couple of interviews I noted three which were of particular interest. Let me expand on this.
Firstly, in the awesome video announcing his appointment, Conte acknowledged there might be a faction of the Inter fan base which still eyes him with unease following his Juventus past. “Why me? It’s because I share the same determination and hunger for glory as you,” Conte said. Ten points, Mister. You can’t erase the past, but you can bring everyone together with the future.
Then, in another interview on Inter TV, President Steven Zhang gave a warm welcome to the Italian coach and asked him if he was ‘ready for the Pazza Inter.’ “No, not Pazza. Crazy no more,’ Conte replied. A great news since after Inter-Empoli, I swear I wasn’t sure if I could ever survive other crazy moments like those.
Afterwards, as soon as he arrived in Madrid with the rest of Inter’s top management before the Champions League final, Conte was asked whether this was a promising sign since Madrid brings up the fondest of memories to any Inter fan. “Yes, but it’s time we refresh such feelings,” answered Conte. In other words, yes it’s always nice to look back to good times but players and coaches are paid to create memories not revisit them.
Antonio Conte will be the highest-paid coach in Italy, and among the highest paid in Europe. But his engagement is a strong signal that things are about to change.
Best of luck Mister.
We’re behind you!
James J. Piscopo is a journalist based in Malta. At 28 years old, he has been following Inter for more than two decades and currently manages the community ‘Malta Nerazzurra’ on facebook. He writes a weekly editorial exclusively for SempreInter.com