Thursday, July 30, 2015

ICC Tournament • Real Madrid 0 (10), Milan 0 (9): Awakenings


So we lost to Real Madrid, no surprise there. But what was a surprise was that it was only a single one of eleven penalty kicks taken for each side that won the game. That’s right, we held our own against the big boys, with their stars on the pitch, for 90 minutes of regulation. And then, with our 16 year old keeper, the youngest player to ever play in the ICC Tournament this year, we matched their penalties one by one until the eleventh round. But that wasn’t even the incredible part. The incredible part was our level of play. Although it’s only been a couple of months since the end of the season, this squad is playing light years ahead of that squad. And even if it’s only a friendly, for the first time in years, I truly believe this squad is awakening from the dark times in recent years.

The thank you to the fans was watching the first half, honestly

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ICC Tournament: Real Madrid-Milan Preview: Back for More


Originally when I saw this fixture, I jokingly said that Real Madrid were ‘coming back for more’ after Inzaghi’s Milan beat them 4-2 in a friendly in Dubai at the end of the year last year to gift us the questionably prestigious Dubai Football Challenge Cup. But this is not Inzaghi’s Milan, they are no longer Ancelotti’s Real Madrid, and they will definitely not be playing in Dubai. More appropriately, the concept of ‘coming back for more’ would apply to them dispatching the darker side of Milan 3-0 on Monday, and now they are coming back for the other half of Milan. So since there is really nothing else to do but fear the worst, I am opting to relish in the fact that they beat Inter 3-0 on Monday. Aren’t those words beautiful? Maybe they’ll be coming back for more from us tomorrow, but truly, let’s just take a few minutes and relish in the beauty of Inter getting decimated….


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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In Search of a Stadium


Fans have longed for Milan to own their own stadium for years. Long before Juventus presented their proposal and then saw it through, Milan fans dreamed of either kicking Inter out and buying the San Siro or possibly building a new stadium to call home. But that is easier said than done. Much easier said than done, as other Italian teams attempting to build or even own their own stadium will attest. Once Barbara Berlusconi and her team put the stadium as a major focus, things have developed well enough, considering. Until yesterday, when the Fondazione Fiero put a screeching halt to Milan’s progress… again. Leaving Milan still in search of a stadium.

The proposal with the most longterm financial appeal

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Poll: Who is the Signing of the Season So Far?


After three years of dredging lower league teams for free transfers, Milan seems to have been somehow awakened and making the changes fans have been begging for. From a new coach to some older players leaving to a few new signings, everything is looking up. But if you had to pick just one person who will make this season for us, who would it be? Would it be Mihajlovic? One of the players who was finally shown the door? Or one of the new signings where we actually spent €8m-€30m for?

A few of the right kinds of changes and we have a whole new team

Friday, July 3, 2015

Raduno 2015


“Raduno” is the Italian word for “rally.” More specifically the first time the players return to Milanello for the beginning of a new season. For this season, that happens today. With the changes in the squad being so on point so far this summer, there is a new air of optimism amongst fans. For the first time in at least three years, it feels like we are actually starting a new season, beginning anew. Too bad those spoiled political brats of the Curva Sud might miss out on it, having made a statement that they will not participate as usual prior to Galliani making it rain. I mean it’s not like fans should show up for a rally for their team to kick off the season or anything. Whatever. For the rest of us, this raduno represents hope and healing, a renewal of faith in the team we have not been able to quit these past few years. Benvenuto.

Declining the invitation this year will be the "fans" of the Curva Sud. Their loss.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Out With the Old, In With the New


There has been so much focus so far this summer on which players might be coming in at Milan that it seemed an almost unexpected surprise yesterday that so many contracts were rescinded or expired. A refreshing surprise, too, as fans realized that some of the players who have been such a weight and a burden to this team are finally gone. Who knew that we could strengthen the team so much by losing a few key players? Perhaps fortifying the team as much as bringing in some quality players might do? So while the mercato is now officially open and rumors are multiplying exponentially, let’s say goodbye to the outgoing players and hello to the new players.

We've freed the beast