Monday, July 27, 2015

Podcast: Great Expectations

With so many mercato changes in place and four friendlies under our belts, the bizarre concept of optimism is beginning settle in amongst Milan fans. How long has it been since we could truly be optimistic about an upcoming season? And have some foundation for said optimism? While trying not to drown ourselves in the Kool-Aid, there certainly are a lot of signs that things are starting to look up. It’s hard not to have great expectations for the upcoming season.

Never a meaningless friendly with Inter

Saturday, July 25, 2015

ICC Tournament • Milan 1, Inter 0: Friendly Surprise

I have always loved surprises. Like as a kid, eating Cracker Jacks, a molasses-covered popcorn & peanut confection in a box. But inside the package, there was a little surprise – a game or toy or something. So on a hot and humid night in China, this derby was a lot like digging through the sticky popcorn, but it definitely had its surprises. Standout performances good and bad, good plays and bad tackles, a wondergoal and a red card. And the best surprise of all? A Derby win. Maybe it was only a friendly, but it was also a friendly surprise.

One of Milan's most unlikely heroes with a brilliant goal

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ICC Tournament • Milan-Inter Preview: Oh Hell No!

In case you have been denied the privilege of seeing the cultural phenomenon that is the Sharknado series of movies, the latest edition, Sharknado 3 “Oh Hell No!” premiered last night in all of its chainsaw shark fighting glory. Which made me think of our first derby of the preseason on Saturday. With a cast of random players, none of whom would be considered star billing, a mercato that has been highly implausible, and players still dropping like extras being eaten by falling sharks, this derby should be like the biggest Sharknado storm China has ever seen. But if Inter think that Milan are going down without a chainsaw fight, they’d better think again. Milan are like the legendary Fin Shephard, now the first member of the Order of the Golden Chainsaw. Inter are waiting for us in China? Oh hell no!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Legend of Daniele Bonera

June 30, 2015. That is the date that Daniele Bonera’s contract expired. A date that will go down in the history of AC Milan forever. For there has never been, and likely never will be a defender like Daniele Bonera. The effects of the decision not to renew his contract may never be able to be measured in the realm of football, such was the impact that this one player had on the game. But for today, I will try to put into mere words what kind of player he was for Milan. I am sure I will not be able to do him justice, but for better or for worse, here is the Legend of Daniele Bonera.

The ball passes right by him into the net, such a familiar sight

Sunday, July 19, 2015

First Impressions

Summer friendlies give us a first look at our changing squad, our first impressions. Luckily for our team, our squad will get a second chance to make a first impression… and a third, and a fourth, and so on throughout the summer friendly schedule. But having played three incredibly meaningless friendlies so far, winning two and losing one, I thought I’d share some random thoughts about some of the players we’ve seen so far. So I give to you my first impressions:

Sitting on an empty bench... symbolic of this Milan team? Or symbolic of his amazing leadership?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Flight Club

It’s that time of the year again, when Milan players hop on a plane and tour the world playing meaningless friendlies. Although they typically mean something, as Milan have been paid well for their participation in the ICC Tournament the past couple of years. While the United States was their destination then, this year they are heading to China. Which is perfect for Milan, considering the number of fans there and the fact that the club plans to expand its scope there in conjunction with the deal with Mr. Bee. In fact, they have launched a YouKu channel and a WeChat account in China to help expand the fan base ahead of their trip there. But first, a trip to France, and later, a trip to Germany.

No, Albertazzi will not be the captain in the air or on the pitch. Sorry.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grazie Il Faraone

On Friday, out of the blue, social media lit up with reports that Stephan El Shaarawy was going on loan to Monaco. A majority of fans were shocked and outraged, while others slowly came to grips with the fact that he had spent nearly half of his time at Milan injured, so this might be a good move. But it seemed that everyone was surprised, even the player himself. As the move was finalized on Monday, fans figured out how to deal with the move one way or the other. But whether you are over him or still fondly reminiscing, I think it’s important to say thank you for four years in the Milan shirt. Grazie, il Faraone.

Take a bow, El Shaarawy

Monday, July 13, 2015

In Good Times and in Bad

Milan’s ticket campaign this summer has been foreboding, depressing, and downright strange. They started with “I promise I’ll always be faithful,” which is what every guy who ever tried to get me into bed always said and never meant, it’s just creepy. Then came “In joy and in sorrow,” which just screamed funeral home advertisement. Then the recently modified “In good times and in bad.” Still foreboding, but the more I thought about it, the more appropriate it was to us as fans. Whether we just started watching Milan or we’ve watched Milan our whole lives, our fate as fans is to follow Milan “in good times and in bad.”

More than a religion

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Of Loyalty and Trophies

Earlier this summer I wrote about how Sacchi’s Milan was not built in a day. In addition to not having the same foundation as we had then, football has changed so much. The bandiera, a “flag-bearer” who plays his entire career at one team, is basically extinct. And not only does the almighty dollar rule every aspect of the sport now, but players who move clubs actually usually boost their careers and skillsets, too. No longer are trophies won primarily by teams who play together for ten years or more. Loyalty is rewarded neither in money nor silverware. Thus, bygone are the days of loyalty and trophies.

From relegations to trophies, his loyalty was rewarded with legend status

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Podcast: Bizarro World

There is always some level of hope as a fan, but for Milan fans, all hope was nearly beaten out of us this past three years. However what has transpired so far this summer took everyone by surprise. In fact events of the last ten days make it seem like some kind of Bizarro World, and I haven’t heard any fans complaining about the change of location. With Milan doing basically the opposite of what they have done the past several years, it is refreshing to see the changes on paper, even if we haven’t seen anything to speak of on the pitch just yet. And I know I for one am loving the change of scenery.

He was the enemy, now he's poised to be the hero