Have you seen the show “The Bear”?
If you haven't, I encourage you to give it a watch. It’s an outstanding dramedy focusing on Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, a young Michelin star-caliber chef who suddenly has to take over a chaotic but popular sandwich restaurant in his hometown of Chicago due to his brother passing away and leaving him the joint on his will.
The show does a great job using flashback scenes and little bottle episodes to show you the stark differences between how a top tier restaurant is run and managed to how “The Original Beef of Chicagoland” — the restaurant Carmy inherits — tumultuously operates when he takes over.
Vendors are not being paid on time, the kitchen is a disorganized mess that is hanging on by a thread, there is no semblance of the responsibilities or hierarchies in the staff and at all moments it seems like the slightest mistake could be the finishing blow to the place and the people working on it.
Carmy struggles early on to get his vision across to the rag tag group of characters that run “The Original Beef.” Slowly but surely, however, they start to see how adopting new methodology and learning from a guy that has reached the top of his profession can be beneficial to themselves and to the restaurant.
While the kitchen remains chaotic — as kitchen restaurants tend to be — it is now a much more controlled chaos in which everyone knows their role and starts exceeding their apparent talents. The pastry cook who was churning out mushy, crappy buns in the first episode is now capable of creating top of the line desserts worthy of a tasting menu. And a malcontent cook can run a line with the best of them with some balance, encouragement and some quick culinary school experience.
(OK, I swear this will relate to Juve in a minute and if you haven’t watched the show’s second season — or at all — spoilers ahead. The one thing that I kind of have a hard time believing is how every staff member of The Bear is suddenly nails at their job in the second season. Marcus takes the whole first season to perfect a donut and by the end of the second one my guy is doing Copenhagen inspired super delicate masterpieces after being there for a few weeks? Richie is a good-for-nothing bum for pretty much the entirety of the show but he stages one week at a top restaurant and he is now the best front of the house guy in the world? I love this show and I love the characters and I get it works for the narrative, but still, no way they get that good that fast.)
Organizations, businesses or — perhaps — clubs that are in disarray tend to be in disarray in all aspects. It’s very unusual to see an enterprise that is just absolutely awful but has one thing that works marvelously despite all the incompetence around it. Even if said enterprise lucks into talent that could be great, they usually get sucked right in to the chaos and fail to make good on their talents.
Right now — and for the last few years — Juventus has been just as chaotically and incompetently run as “The Original Beef” was when Carmy takes over.
We don’t need to go over the laundry list of missteps that Juventus has taken in the last five years but ... deep breath ... the revolving door of coaches and front office personnel, uncountable failed roster moves, PR disasters galore, the CR7 era, the mishandling of the rollout of the Super League, the ensuing debacle and the whole drama of last seasons Prisma investigation. A general lack of competence has been the only thing consistent for the Bianconeri.
Is it all that surprising that in an organization in which almost nothing seems to work right that very same ineptness would seep in to the players wearing the jerseys?
Be it either Paul Pogba getting provisionally banned from football due to doping or most recently Nicolo Fagioli getting suspended for the rest of the season for gambling, at the end of the day the two most recent scandals to hit Juventus boil down to a general lack of adults in the room to avoid extremely avoidable problems.
Any top-tier club has an army of medical experts ready to tend to any of the players in the team. Entire departments whose entire job is making sure that the guys on the field are as healthy as they can be and can perform to the best of their ability. Was Pogba taking supplements on his own accord? Did he not trust the doctors at J Medical? Doesn’t matter really, but how do you even allow that to happen in the first place? How are you not monitoring these guys day-in and day-out and making sure they don’t try sketchy unregulated products?
The case with Fagioli is an even starker example. You have a kid who is literally asking money from teammates, who is breaking down crying after being subbed off a game. Was there no red alarms at any point that something wasn’t quite right? Was there no veteran leadership in the locker room to guide the youngster to better decision making? Did he not feel at ease to go to someone in the organization when things started to go bad and ask for help?
Sure, they are both individuals who make their own decisions and you can’t regulate everything they do at all times of the day. With Fagioli specifically there seems to be a lot of tells of a gaming addiction and that’s obviously a whole other can of worms. But these types of things don’t happen with such regularity in well run organizations.
We can talk all we want about the results on the pitch — and we will continue to do so — but at this point it seems like off the field issues for Juventus are going to become the norm until we start seeing some actual competency at all levels.
Before the Bianconeri aim to get back to the lofty standard that they aspire to, they have to get their house in order and that starts by establishing a base level of competence that unfortunately they just don’t seem to have.