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Keeping Allegri: Necessary Evil?


He wasn’t sacked after managing the worst start Milan had in over 70 years. So why would he be sacked after eeking out a third place finish? Yet most people felt that his time was up, even if they personally wanted him to stay. Maybe it was the harsh and direct criticism from Berlusconi, or even Galliani throughout the season. Or maybe it was the insanely ridiculous (and probably record-breaking) number of confirmations that management, the players, and even he himself had given him throughout the season. But in the end, he stayed. No extension yet, but he stayed. But was it the right move or just a necessary evil?

Allegri shares his mindboggling tactics with future coaches at Coverciano

The first questions stem around the mercato. The more Allegri has gotten the kind of players he’s asked for, the more poorly the team has performed. While there is always the argument of the mass exodus of senators and the influx of new and unproven players, which is a factor, of course, it was under Allegri’s Tourette’s Lineups that saw the team with their worst start in over 70 years last season. And then have a completely opposite run of form once Allegri provided more consistency. Leading one to believe it wasn’t just the new players, but rather more likely the man at the helm of the ship. And even then, the team was incredibly lucky. Even so, it would seem natural to reinforce during the mercato. But if we keep buying the same kinds of players we’ve always bought, chances are that we’ll keep getting the same results we’ve always gotten. Or worse. After all, Allegri saw us grab 1st, then 2nd, then 3rd, and if the pattern continues, we’d be due to finish fourth this season.

Bigger questions surround the Champions League. Even in his first season with all of the shiny happy players, a lot of people feel that we underperformed. And this season, we had the chance to nab direct qualification, but his very questionable lineups and tactics in a very big game assured that we were playing to the death just to secure a qualification spot instead. With Slow-Start Allegri™ guiding us through qualification at the beginning of the season, I get hives thinking what could happen. Every single season at every single club he’s ever coached he’s started slow, even being fired for it in the past. And if we are to reach the Group Stage at all, he’s got to have the team ready to race straight out of the gate in August. So can he? Will he?

It's all about the individual errors.

The other issues people have with him regarding his Uru kai midfield choices, late substitutions, inability to read the game and make changes during a match, player management, ugly playing style, etc. are all still worrisome, but pale in comparison to rolling the dice with him in the Champions League and league finish. Any one of those things could affect the results on any given day or for the entire season. But they all beg the question: was keeping him on the right move?

The other side of the coin says yes, it was. For one, keeping the stability with such a young team is a very fair point. With so much turmoil last year, and promises to delve into the mercato again this year, the fewer changes we make, the better. And he has the support of many of the players, too. Even past players have come out in support of him staying on. And that support is crucial if we are to move forward and keep building.

If only the team could perform as well as these two can act...

But the biggest argument for keeping him is also quite telling: Who else would we have gotten? Like someone with low self-esteem who is knee-deep in a relationship, we settled to keep someone who a lot of people questioned, just because we told ourselves that we can’t do any better. In essence, we settled. Some people have convinced themselves that Prandelli is coming next year, and that Berlusconi is just using Allegri as a place card until after the World Cup. But there is no guarantee. Even if Berlusconi and Prandelli did pinky promises and blood brothers to guarantee it, last I checked, those agreements were only ever binding through puberty anyway. So we couldn’t get Guardiola, we couldn’t get anyone else we wanted, so we stuck with the coach next door, hoping for a decent season until we could find someone better. So was this choice a necessary evil?

The darkest cloud hanging over Allegri’s biggest confirmation to date is the acrimony between management and him, and especially amongst management themselves. Allegri recently said "I have a great relationship with Berlusconi, and it's normal to have different opinions." Coming from a man who fights with his players like some people have coffee, it’s hard to know if Allegri knows what a normal relationship is. I mean, after divorcing his wife, he hooks up with an ex-Playmate half his age and has another kid with her, who is now 18 months old. (his daughter is 18 or 19 years old, I believe.) But I digress. The damage to the image of management, the club,  and unfortunately of Allegri has been extensive. And it is hard to know if their tenuous relationship is strong enough to last another season without worse repercussions. Especially with Berlusconi already dictating formations, players, and styles of play. At least we know that Allegri really wants to be at Milan. No one else would stand for such shameful abuse. But if it is a choice based on necessity, will it last as long as needed?



Vergogna.


Probably more questions than answers surround the news that Allegri will stay on. And all of them are questions that can only be answered with time. Precious time that could cost us Champions League qualification this year and next. Precious results that are needed to help ensure that Milan’s “brand” doesn’t suffer another hit, that people still come to the stadium and buy jerseys so we can continue to build a champion team. In the end, whether or not Berlusconi made the right call by keeping Allegri on will only be able to be answered after the fact. Only at the end of the season will we know if keeping Allegri was a mistake, a sound choice, or simply a necessary evil.


This post inspired by the music of The Chemical Brothers