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The Big Lie


As Milan fans, we have sadly become accustomed to abuse. While other clubs make mistakes that upset their fans from time to time, very few will consistently snub fans’ desires and even insult them in the media like some kind of totalitarian government. But Milan does. And that “let them eat cake” kind of attitude toward the very people they need to fill their stadium comes largely from one of the most polarizing figures at the club: Adriano Galliani. He is the big lie.

Turns out Dr. Galliani is more evil than genius

People either love or hate the man, with this weekend’s pathetic outburst difficult to defend for even his most ardent supporters. But in reality, there are many things that he has done in recent years that are indefensible. Like announcing to the media that our captain at the time, Ambrosini, would not have his contract renewed, before speaking to the player himself. Or publicly announcing that Montolivo, having been at the club for only one year, would be the captain, without discussing it first with Abbiati, the rightful captain according to decades of precedents. Even if you agree that it was Ambrosini’s time to go or that Montolivo should be captain, the point is that he showed incredibly poor character to go public when all it would have taken was a simple phone call in either case to do the decent thing.

But doing the decent thing has rarely factored into Galliani’s modus operandi. In fact, few people know that the actions of Galliani nearly saw Milan relegated in 2006 for match fixing. People judge Juventus because of the horrific and shambolic way the Calciopoli case was handled, but the evidence shows that Galliani’s actions were far more egregious than Moggi’s, who is serving a lifetime ban from football after his club was relegated in the scandal. And yet Galliani’s puppet Meani, whom he hired, got a much longer ban than he did. Galliani let someone else take the fall for him. Galliani is often referred to as the “old fox,” but what if justice had actually been served in that trial? Galliani might actually be seen for the criminal that he is. That’s right, I said criminal. His actions were criminal, and he got away with it, too.

"Call me, Luciano. Let's do lunch."

One doesn’t need to look far to find more smoke, and actually more fire. Many recall that in November of 2013, he resigned… for less than 24 hours. But many forget why. It wasn’t that Barbara Berlusconi was vying for power. It was that she and others had a look at the books and found a lot of “discrepancies” in his transfer business, particularly all of those deals with Genoa. And if you look at the sheer amount of money and players that we gave Genoa for the several years preceding that, you would raise questions, too. Eventually, Braida left the club over the allegations, despite the fact that the clear architect of those contracts was Galliani. Again, Galliani let someone else take the fall for him. After his resignation in the media, he was quickly reinstated by Silvio Berlusconi, even if he was “demoted” to co-CEO shortly thereafter.

Galliani supporters believe that the horrific transfer deals in recent years are due to Silvio Berlusconi not being willing to invest money in the club like before. But you don’t have to be a math genius to see that perhaps it is Galliani’s gross mismanagement of the funds he had that led us to this point. Yes, all of those champions he brought to the club, many on free transfers or “genius” deals? They all had long contracts and high wage bills (translation: unsustainable.) Which is why Sheva had to be sold. Then Kaka. Then Ibra and Silva. Galliani continuously perpetuated the big lie, helping us win trophies while also spending the club into the ground. Like a credit card bill he never intended to pay.

"Ooh! Another player we don't need who is available for free? 4 year contract, please!"

And no one minded too much until stadium attendance and profits dropped enough to expose his shortsighted and expensive habits. Well that, and Silvio’s reality check of the €547m fine for Fininvest, Milan’s parent company. Although to my knowledge, that fine has never been paid and is still in appeals. But when the forces of the Italian economy, Calciopoli, and dominance of other leagues hit, Milan’s wages became truly unsustainable, and that is why Berlusconi stopped spending. He cut up Galliani’s credit card. But it also begs the question of how much he actually still trusts Galliani. He used to open his wallet and tell him to bring him champions. Now instead, he goes to Milanello himself to try to motivate the inferior squad, even though he is still losing money because of Galliani’s deals. Milan still have the third highest wage bill in Italy with nothing to show for it. And those wages and contracts were negotiated by Galliani. It’s not about the money that Berlusconi is not willing to invest. It’s about the money squandered away by Galliani for years, and it has finally caught up to him.

So to recap so far, Galliani has shown incredibly poor character on multiple occasions, was shown to be a criminal, and has spent this club into poverty, despite being known for his “free” transfers. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Milan legend Paolo Maldini gave a rare interview last March in which he described Galliani as feeling “omnipotent” and being unwilling to work with others. In fact, despite the pleas of many former players, fans, and others, Maldini has been kept out of the Milan organization by… you guessed it, Galliani. Our filthy cugini transferred their legend Javier Zanetti straight into management upon retirement, and Juventus have Pavel Nedved, etc. It is a common practice to do this, and who better to be at Milan than a second generation captain and bandiera, whose number has been retired after playing his entire career at the club? Yet Galliani’s petty personal issues (and seriously, who has a problem with Paolo Maldini?) have harmed the club on more than one occasion.

"Nope! No room for Paolo Maldini on this train. Or anyone else, for that matter. I work alone."

The Curva Sud have finally seen the light, publicly criticizing Galliani both last June in an open letter titled “Always Present But Not Silent,” and more recently with a statement on their website calling for him to be sacked. He has also been criticized in recent years for neglecting to invest in proper midfielders or defenders and for the poor treatment of Seedorf, as well as his €10m contract that we are still paying. And speaking of still paying, we are paying Juventus the rest of that insanely ridiculous €11m for Matri, while loaning the player back to them. We are paying Fernando Torres’ €4m wages to loan Cerci. There is no such thing as a free deal, and as the Curva said, we have a club of overpaid players “that arrived on a free transfer and because of that we’re no longer able to free ourselves from them.”

Which finally brings me to the reason for this post: Galliani’s most resent character meltdown. After the loss to Juventus, he spoke out about camera angles and Juventus having control over their own footage, the only club to currently have that power. To which Juventus responded, calling him out on facts such as the line that the official AC Milan account questioned, which was a post-production addition, not the footage Juventus provided. It’s not like TV camera angles affect the outcome of a match, or impact either club in any way. But “Milan” replied with this petty statement, questioning Juventus’ character while completely undermining AC Milan’s. Which is completely disgusting. After so much acrimony with Juventus in these past years (brought on largely by Galliani’s petulant whining about things such as “il gol di Muntari,”) we finally had a game without controversy. The team and the fans were content with the performance after a string of very poor performances, and the loss was something we could accept.

His megalomaniac ways have hurt the club too much for too long

But that was not enough for Galliani. He had to drag Milan’s name through the mud again. Destroying the class which Milan has been known for in victory and defeat, the class built by players with character, who bled red and black for the shirt, even if so many of them were purchased by a criminal. That criminal, who was actually a Juventus fan before Berlusconi hired him, who is not content with destroying what he helped build on the pitch, but is now more and more frequently destroying the image of the club worldwide. That people still look to him as a hero or some kind of legendary diviner of trophies is wrong. Like Maldini said, that success was built by more than just him. And even while helping to build that success, he was simultaneously destroying it. That is why Adriano Galliani is the big lie.


This post inspired by the music of NIN


Our next match is
Milan vs. Empoli
Sunday, February 15 • 12:30 CET (6:30am EST)