Blue fan on Conte's departure: 'He'll always hold a special place in my heart'
Stamford Bridge season ticket holder Callum West delivers his view on Conte's sacking and looks back at his time with us
"When Ancelotti won the double, Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Deco and Juliano Belletti were all released and essentially replaced with Josh McEachran, Gael Kakuta and Fabio Borini. When Mourinho asked for John Stones to build on his 2015 title success he got Papy Djilibodji instead. For many of us it seems that Conte has become another victim of his own success.
Since becoming Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte was the first manager to:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 12, 2018
🔵 Complete a league double over Pep Guardiola
🔵 Win 30 Premier League games in a single season
🔵 Beat Jose Mourinho in an English domestic cup final
"That success was almost immediate and left a lasting impact, both on Chelsea and English football. It is easy to forget that he came into a club that was at its lowest point in two decades and, despite having had relatively limited resources for a Chelsea manager, quickly transformed it. Indeed, his adopting of three at the back changed the entire league's tactical approach, and he even temporarily transformed Victor Moses into Cafu.
"His management was pragmatic, he identified and played to the strength of his players, and forged togetherness and team spirit that seemed to have disappeared under Mourinho and Hiddink. At a time when it was most needed - Conte restored Chelsea's soul and our pride, he gave us our swagger back.
"The club were re-energised, the team were galvanised and it felt as though the fans, players, management and club were, once again, all pulling in the same direction. Predictably with Chelsea, little over a year later he's gone and any semblance of unity has disappeared. Not to say that Conte was infallible. At times in his second season his melancholy seemed as infectious as his passion had felt in his first.
"His handling of the departure of Diego Costa, so often the difference in the 13-game winning run that cemented the success of his first season, not only stripped the team of one of its best players and biggest characters, but also turned elements of the dressing room against their boss. The team spirit he had forged in his first year, ebbed away in his second.
Chelsea announce Antonio Conte is sacked with 52 words on their website and they don't even say thank you.— Mike Anstead (@mike_anstead) July 13, 2018
"And while I agree with him about the board's recruitment, the repeated failure to build on our success and the impossible task of balancing the club's conflicting demands for both immediate success and an emphasis on the promotion of promising youngsters into the squad, with the Costa situation he was as guilty of self-sabotage as the club have been. And the less said about losing our 28-year undefeated home record against Tottenham the better.
"But ultimately it should be that title and the 13 wins in a row that are his legacy. Throughout that season we played some of the most devastating counter-attacking football the Premier League has witnessed and the 3-1 victory away to Manchester City is one of the great Chelsea performances. The celebrations in the away end at Goodison Park, where we brushed aside not only Everton but also any lingering doubts that we'd be champions, and at the Hawthorns when we eventually clinched the title will live long in the memory of the Chelsea fans who were there.
Conte’s work during his time at Chelsea was evident at the World Cup - think of all the teams playing with a back three and England converting Walker into the Azpi role. He created a blueprint. I’ll miss him.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) July 13, 2018
"These are the moments that make the thousands of pounds we spend each season, the miles we travel, every boring 0-0 draw we endure all worth it. More than anyone else that season, Conte was responsible for them and for that reason he'll always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you, and good luck Antonio."