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Do You Still Beelieve?

Countless deadlines have come and gone, the Chinese Stock Market has crashed and is showing signs of rising again, yet Mr. Bee has still not come through with his part of the over-hyped deal to purchase 48% of AC Milan. Despite the fact that fans have spent the nearly half billion euros in their imaginations at least twelve times over, creating fantasy teams that would defy all FFP rules and theoretically be invincible, there is actually no money for such fantasies in reality. And as time goes by, it appears that there never will be, despite the agreement that was signed. Which begs the question, do you still Beelieve?

That's a handshake, not cash

If you listened to the podcasts earlier this year where we discussed the Mr. Bee deal, there were two main points the various guests reiterated. One was that, contrary to popular Beelief, there wasn’t any money until the deal actually happened. The other was that there were more questions than answers about Bee Taechaubol. While he himself has some wealth, the deal with Berlusconi has always been reliant upon his mysterious backers for the financing. Not only were their identities a mystery, but also a complete unknown was where exactly their capital was coming from.

Then the Chinese stock market crashed. Hard. There has been much speculation that most if not all of the €480m was going to be coming from China. So if Milan’s poor performances on the pitch didn’t scare the investors off, the market crash may very well have destroyed their assets and therefore the deal. Or some subscribe to a popular belief that Taechaubol never had the cash committed in the first place. Or any combination of things.

Not what Milan fans meant when they said "make it rain"

Apparently in anticipation of the deal going through, Berlusconi opened up his checkbook for the first time in a very long time. While mercato costs showed Milan spending around €90m, Berlusconi has been whining about investing much more than that… he claims to have spent €150m this year. Was it a coincidence that he stopped short of buying the quality midfielder we desperately needed at the end of the summer mercato and that the Chinese market crashed the same week?

Or how about that stadium? After Barbara and her team spent so much time and money designing not just the stadium, but the whole complex, then spent so much time and effort submitting and winning the bid for the Portello area, her father was absolutely fine just letting the whole thing go once relations with the owners of the land soured. No plan B, no more money spent on a chance for Milan to catch up with other teams in this century, no making some sacrifices now to benefit the club so much in the future. Was it because the capital he was counting on to pay for the project was now uncertain? Why else would he have let the club spend so much time and so much money on something so massive that he was just going to cast aside like a young woman who was of legal age? Unless it was because he knew he couldn’t afford it without Mr. Bee’s cash infusion?

The look of a man who spent €150m and didn't get a euro in return

After a year that Berlusconi was acting like he had won the lottery and splashing cash and dreams around more than he usually does around elections, he suddenly stopped spending before completing his return-to-the-Champions-League team, and waved off his own daughter’s last couple of years’ work (as well as the chance to make Milan solvent long term,) and turned back into Mr. Scrooge. It kind of seems like he does not Beelieve anymore, although of course he still entertains meetings with the potential cash cow on the odd chance that the Thai investor actually found the money and will seal the deal. But for me, as soon as he started complaining about an inflated amount of money he spent, it seemed like his Beelief was gone.

I’ve spoken to fans recently who are still convinced that Bee Taechaubol is the savior of Milan and he is flying around on his magic pony with the sack of cash even now, waiting to make it rain over Casa Milan. But I also have spoken with people who have mental illnesses, and honestly, their visions seem more realistic at this point. I don’t know anyone who would not be thrilled at the possibilities that a Mr. Bee cash infusion would provide for the future of Milan. But I am not holding my breath. Because I learned early in life that Prince Charming and the happily ever after that he comes with really is just a fairy tale. Unknown investors who back a smooth talking businessman and want to buy a minority share of a club that is sinking faster than the Titanic are also fairy tales. Until I see their capital on our financial reports, or a new stadium actually in the works, I refuse to Beelieve. How about you? Do you still Beelieve?

This post inspired by the music of The White Stripes’ “The Hardest Button to Button”