Antonio Conte bans ketchup at Tottenham Hotspurs

Who knew ketchup was holding back the Spurs all along?

Who knew ketchup was holding back the Spurs all along?
Image: Getty Images

In 2013, Tottenham Hotspur hired a new manager with some unconventional training methods. He introduced NFL-style tackling, encouraged players to kick the ball over the goal, danced with the robot and asked his players for “60% effort, 1000% of the time.”

It did not work. Before the season even started, the players rioted and called the new man “Wanker” before he was fired.

The thing with Ted Lasso, though, is that he’s not real.

Antonio Conte is very real, the winner of the 2017 Premier League title and 2018 FA Cup at Chelsea, plus four Serie A titles during his time in Italy at Juventus and Inter Milan. His resemblance to the manager of the fictional AFC Richmond: Conte has brought some quirks to North London.

According to the athletic, Conte has banned ketchup and mayonnaise as part of an effort to get Tottenham players into better shape, which also presumably means there won’t be any Big Macs unless McDonald’s can make some sort of disclosure about its special sauce. In fact, Big Macs are definitely out, as Conte has also taken sandwiches off the menu, cut back on fruit juice, and come out against excessive oil and butter in cooking.

This is not new for Conte, who also oversaw a culinary performance at Chelsea. Nor is it unique to Conte, as fellow Italian manager Paolo di Canio was noticed at Sunderland for his ban on ketchup, mayo, coffee and ice cream in Coke.

It’s also very stupid. Ketchup will not adversely affect the fitness of a world class athlete. While banning sauces sends a clear message about the importance of fitness, and gives a new manager an excuse for not getting immediate results — these players are out of shape! – it also finds that the responsible man is more interested in exercising power than dealing with the individual problems of the players to solve team-wide problems.

Perhaps that’s why, while Conte has had success at multiple clubs, with 316 wins in 538 games, he has never lasted more than three years in any of his managerial roles.

Ultimately, Conte would have to figure out what a perfect match he is for the Chicago Fire, in a city that… famously hates ketchup. Perhaps sooner rather than later, because it won’t be long before the players give Conte the same nickname that was once fictionally applied to Ted Lasso. And they’re right: anyone who tries to ban pizza is indeed a jerk.


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