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Waiting For a Miracle


This season has been so painful for Milan fans that many fans have skipped games or just stopped watching altogether. Some have chosen to follow other clubs, but most are still holding out for a miracle. Many think that the sale of a majority of the club or even the investment of a minority shareholder will somehow be that miracle. But as we discussed on the last podcast, changing ownership may not change Milan’s fortunes at all. In fact, things could easily get worse. Unless we keep our feet on the ground and our hearts and minds based in reality, we could be fooled into waiting for a miracle that never comes.

The champagne football has gone, will Berlusconi be gone, too?

Perhaps the Bee-lievers are clinging to the idea that when Berlusconi bought the club 29 years ago, a massive cash injection saw him turn the side from having been relegated twice in the previous five years and being on the verge of bankruptcy to a Scudetto-winning side just two years later.

But that was then. When he bought the club, he had the likes of Baresi & Maldini at the core of his defense. His massive cash outlay bought him coach Arrigo Sacchi and the Dutch trio of van Basten, Gullit, and Rijkaard, which combined with the consistency, leadership, and talent in Milan’s back line, equaled success on the pitch. The cash injection stabilized the business side, the new stars and coach meshed with the existing talent and stability to generate success on the football side. And he continued to build from that model.

Not even this kind of talent could save this Milan now

But this is now. We don’t have that kind of talent, leadership, or consistency at the club that existed then. We don’t have a core group of players who have been through relegation and earning promotion twice in three years. We don’t even have a core group of players, to be honest. We can’t splash the cash that Berlusconi did then without getting into trouble with FFP, nor can we keep up the kind of spending he did on players and wages that he has. Ironically, it is that very practice that helped run the club into the financial situation that we are in.

Nor can we attract the kind of stars that Berlusconi was able to woo back then and for so many years. Not only due to the poor level of football and state of affairs in Serie A, but the financial woes of the entire nation. Particularly after this past three years of transfer nightmares, as well as the resulting poor football and lack of Europe.

Do you Bee-lieve?

Football has evolved since 1986, and Milan as a club has not. Bringing in a foreign investor is not enough change to bring the club up to speed with so many other clubs in other leagues who are currently successful, attract big stars, and can spend big money because their success allows them to. What is so crippling about FFP is that it is based on income vs. expenses, so if your income drops drastically like Milan’s did without Europe or any real investment from Berlusconi, it is hard to change your station without infusing some cash. And when you do, you are no longer FFP compliant.

But I am not just guessing in the dark, we have two blatant examples of how foreign investment has failed to change the successes of two clubs in Serie A already. Roma was bought by an American consortium, who have done wonders with marketing and also purchasing great players and a bringing in a good coach. Yet Roma’s place on the table has barely changed, they still can’t compete with Juventus, languishing a full 15 points behind them. And they had a core group of players, including legends like Totti and De Rossi, to build their new team with.

Not even their leadership, skills, and consistency have been able to steer Roma to victory

Inter are a team nearer in both proximity and comparison, with Thohir buying a majority of their club from Moratti. He injected large amounts of cash to bring in a new coach and some new players, yet they are actually one point behind us in the table already. And that’s without the ridiculous revolving door mercato policy that Milan have employed these past three years.

Sure, I want a new owner. Because I’m so sick of what Berlusconi hasn’t been doing for the club these past three or four years. Change sounds really good right about now. But I am very wary of what new ownership could do to the club. Because of the lack of leadership on the pitch and the incredible number of changes within the squad, this team needs some consistency. Only sticking with what we have now is not the answer, either, as everyone from Cesare Maldini to Boban and more have pointed out that we don’t have a lot of talent right now. And bringing Paolo Maldini back into the organization sounds like a good idea, too. Until you realized that he knows football from the other side of things and would have a steep learning curve before he could possibly impact the club enough with his class and character.

 
He would be a sight for sore eyes, but he isn't a miracle worker

Additionally, a foreign owner would need to learn the league and all of its quirks, while waiting for success to come. But in today’s football reality, success takes time. And money. When you look at Barca or Bayern, they are clubs who invested in a youth project and stuck with it for years. And years. And years before it finally paid off. Will Mr. Bee or whomever purchases the club have that kind of patience? Will we? Because successful football doesn’t happen miraculously. It takes hard work, time, and patience. And we as fans really need to learn to accept that, new owner or no. Because otherwise, we’ll get stuck with the Bee-lievers waiting for a miracle… that never ever comes.


This post inspired by the music of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” album


Our next match is
Udinese vs. Milan
Saturday, April 25 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)