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The Changing of the Guard


In current Milan fashion, that Milan have a new coach is not actually news. For two weeks, every media source has been reporting that Seedorf would be sacked and that Inzaghi would be promoted as manager of the first team. So much so that they then went on to predict lineups, formations, specialists Inzaghi might hire, diet and exercise regimes he might implement, and so much more long before Inzaghi was even appointed. There were “leaked” pictures of Inzaghi sitting in very public places with Galliani and with transfer targets, not to mention all of the multi-hour pow wows at Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore. In fact, the only mentions of Seedorf were how annoying it was that he hadn’t reached a severance package agreement with the club. That is not how fans want their legends treated, and that is not how fans want Milan to behave. Vergogna. But finally, it is official. And yet not really news.

Seedorf assisted Pippo's last goal... was it an omen of things to come?


Seedorf took a team that was demoralized and performing terribly midseason and turned the team around. So many people said that Milan did not have the personnel to be a top club this year, but in the second half of the season, Seedorf proved them wrong. Milan would have been fourth in the table looking at only the results under his watch. And had he started fresh, without all of the injury, fitness and morale issues he inherited, who knows how well Milan could have done? Despite the reports coming out now that he clashed with some of the players as well as management, the smile ratio, the fitness levels and the results increased exponentially under his watch, something that did not go unnoticed by us fans. I, for one, wish I could thank him for bringing back the Milan to Milan. And for that delicious Derby win. I won’t be forgetting that too soon.

But, true to the current douchebaggery levels at Milan, the club did not thank him at all. They will be forced to honor his contract, continuing payments of the €10m+ contract that they handed him a mere five months ago. And apparently, they believed they were above that contract. But why are they surprised about Seedorf? He was not a timid “yes man” as a player, why would they think he wouldn’t also be stubborn and outspoken as a coach? I thought that’s what they wanted when they handed him the job over Pippo in the first place. And to give him a 2.5 year contract worth so much… well to have to honor it is their own fault. We knew their decision making was poor and getting poorer *cough*Matri*cough*, but this move really shows that they should be placed in one of the retirement homes Berlusconi does his community service in. I mean, why even bother?

How could they expect anything different?

And then we come to the part where it becomes difficult not to be excited. Inzaghi is our new coach. Super Pippo. The one who celebrates every goal like it’s a Champions League final winning goal. The one who took out a full page ad when he retired as a player to thank everyone, and the one whom Curva Sud also recognized for his devotion to the fans. Am I supposed to feel guilty for being excited about this? Because I feel just awful about Seedorf. And yet the prospect of Inzaghi on the sidelines with the first team is a dream I’ve had since before he even retired from playing.

And yet it’s hard to be excited about the mess he’s inherited. Or the ridiculous whims of his bosses and their horrific track record of late. For all of the promises of a commitment to youth, a new winning cycle, Year Zero, etc., it’s hard to believe anything Milan management says anymore. My only hope lies in a little stat: Inzaghi makes the third coach Milan has had in the past six months. The last time that happened was in 2001, with Cesare Maldini, Fatih Terim, and some guy called Carlo Ancelotti. Inzaghi would be very lucky to follow in Ancelotti’s shoes. And Milan would be very lucky to create a winning cycle like that again.

Welcome, Mister. And good luck. Seriously.

Still, with only a glimmer of hope, the club have managed to ruin this changing of the guard for me. Seedorf deserved to be treated better, and my fears for Inzaghi outweigh my excitement. It’s hard to envision a new winning cycle when another beloved Milan legend takes the fateful bench amidst so much douchebaggery. Let’s just hope that Inzaghi and the players have both the vision and the luck to rise above all of that and create that winning cycle in spite of the club.


This post inspired by the music of The Prodigy