Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grazie Miha


Let me begin by saying this feels as bad as or worse than if someone I loved died. Mainly because my hopes for Milan and for finally rebuilding after almost four years have literally died. But not just selfishly, because I am also mourning the fact that Mihajlovic did not get the chance to finish what he started. And that the team, who have made so much progress this season, have lost a mentor and father figure. But my emotions are not only sorrow and anger. I also have a deep sense of gratitude to a man who turned rivals into friends and skeptics into believers in less than ten months. Grazie, Miha.

Ciao, Mister. Thanks for everything.

There is something about Mihajlovic that tugged at my heart strings right away. And no, it wasn’t just because he kicked Mexes in the behind after he scored that insane goal in the friendly last summer. Although that was all kinds of awesome. Mihajlovic has a personality that is larger than life, but also a heart of gold. And a great sense of humor. He is the perfect mix of drill sergeant, man, and father-type that makes it obvious why our team grew so much mentally this season. In essence, he was the perfect coach for Milan at the perfect time… for everyone but Mr. Orange Faced Politician Man.

This coaching change marks the fifth coach in just over two years at Milan, which says more about Mr. Bad Dye Job Helicopter Man than Mihajlovic. To look at the results alone, it might seem that Mihajlovic didn’t do much better than his predecessors. But if you watched the games, you’ll know he actually did. Of all of the recent coaches who claimed we would play attacking football, Mihajlovic actually got the team to play attacking football. He improved so many things, actually. We have scored the most corners of anyone in Serie A this year because he specifically worked on that. Discipline is clearly better, and he’s truly united the team.

He knew just what Mexes needed most, right from the beginning

But something he did that I don’t think anyone else would have the balls to do was to start a 16 year-old keeper called Donnarumma in goal ahead of two much more experienced keepers. And look what he discovered. No matter what, Gigio will always remember the coach who put him in with the men. And he gave all of us the wonder that is the Boy Wonder™. His faith in Romagnoli has also been a gift that has kept on giving. And while fans always want to see more youth, Mihajlovic was very fair and tried to keep balance on the team. He’s always said that the best players at each position will start, and for the most part I think that has been true.

His ‘bad boy’ ways have matured a bit, instead of kicking opponents, he now kicks water bottles. And now, instead of cursing out the ref to be sent off, he waits until he is being sent off to unleash the tongue. But he’s also a softie, having taken the entire team and coaching staff out to nice dinners not once, not twice, but three different times during his tenure at Milan. Each time to say thank you for a job well done. I have to say that knowing what I knew about him a year ago, I never would have guessed he would have done that. Yet now, I look at him totally differently, and it makes perfect sense. He has more Milan class than those clowns running this circus, and he never even played for the club. The biggest irony was that it was his brilliance that shielded us from the douchebaggery of Mr. Megolomaniac Bunga Bunga Man, but no one could shield him from that axe.

The family man sacked while on vacation with his family... really Mr. "I'm Busy Updating My Dog's Website?"

The saddest thing for me is that Mr. “I Was the Prime Minister Listen to Me” called him while he was on vacation in Rome with his family. That’s right, he’s a devout family man, with a wife and five children. I hope the water bottles at their hotel are okay. And now he has an extended vacation, a paid vacation at that. But I’m going to guess that he will not be happy sitting around the house doing chores. If there’s one thing I learned about Mihajlovic this year, it’s that he puts his whole heart into everything, and it’s going to be hard to watch some completely inexperienced ‘yes man’ trying to do his job. I think it will probably also be very emotional for him watching our players play and not being there to give them a giant hug or a kick in the behind, whatever they need at that moment. I know that’s going to be emotional for me.

He even got everyone to pay attention... well except for Mexes and Niang, but almost everyone

All of these things make me so very sad. And angry. And sad again. I am in mourning for Milan’s loss of a great leader and a great man, at the same time knowing that we will likely see that man on the winning side of an opposition team next season. I can tell you now that it will be very emotional, at least for a while. Mihajlovic has been more than a coach for me, he has restored my belief in football and in coaches. But he has also been an exemplary role model for my own kids and kids everywhere. He is a tremendous human being, and leaves a tremendous, gaping hole in my heart. Not to mention that we all know Milan are going to suck really hard without him. But for the lessons in football and in life, I am forever indebted to him for this magical year with Sinisa Mihajlovic. Grazie, Miha.


This post inspired by the tears of a thousand unicorns mixed with the belief of every fairy on earth


Our next Year Zero match is
Sampdoria vs. Milan
Sunday, April 17 • 20:45 (2:45pm EDT)