Each time the rumor mills give us hope that something at Milan will be moving forward shortly, the reports are followed by further delays, further shenanigans from management, and decisions that show even further incompetence. Like the news that Brocchi reportedly is “stepping down” (since his contract is ending anyway,) followed by the reports that Milan have contacted Montella in regards to the coaching position. In fact all of the managers currently linked with the Milan bench are less than the coach the club fired in April. The only “plan” Milan could possibly be implementing is “how can we make this situation worse?” Only with that level of incompetence, it’s clear that they’re not even capable of planning that, they just got lucky. But we as fans are every bit the opposite of lucky. This is not my Milan.
|The kinds of people that made Milan legendary|
For those who have followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that I fell in love with football during the 1994 World Cup. In the beginning, I watched whatever Serie A matches I could, but I was always drawn to that team in the red and black. It wasn’t long before, without even realizing, I was a Milan fan. I had no idea that I was witnessing history, the end of Capello’s Milan, so many incredible players, and of course, the end of the career of that legendary Azzurri and Milan captain, Franco Baresi. But I knew enough to know that win, lose, or draw, Milan players behaved in a certain way. That the red and black colors meant carrying oneself in a certain way, and that sportsmanship and class were more important than trophies. Milan commanded respect.
People talk of the trophies, of Milan’s winning ways, and say that they miss them. But for me, it is so very much more than that. I would trade all of the trophies at Casa Milan for a little decorum from the club. Some respect shown to all of us fans who bleed red and black, and perhaps a little transparency given to those who buy red and black. Trophies and winning are great, but teams like Juventus have those things and are hated and maligned because they lack the decorum and class to go with. It’s nice to be a team who is feared, but it is better to be a team that is respected. After all of the horrible things our management has done over the years, and in recent years particularly, Milan are neither feared nor respected. We have become that joke that everyone makes because it is just too easy. This is not my Milan.
|Feared and respected.|
It is a common misconception that the douchebaggery from management and the self destruct cycle they implemented was a recent thing. The table was set from the beginning, when Berlusconi purchased the club as his own little public relations project. From day one, he loved himself so much more than Milan. And the shady deals and questionable ethics were always there. So were the big name purchases, the wages that were too high, and the selling of top players to try to balance the deficits caused by those practices. There were “ethical indiscretions” all along, but Galliani’s direct involvement in Calciopoli put Milan’s Serie A status directly at risk, even if those shady connections saw the punishment reduced to a mere points deduction. And that is only one instance.
Then came 2007 and Maldini’s infamous reminder to Galliani that Milan hadn’t renewed the level of talent that won so many of those shiny trophies. And that mismanagement was a giant neon sign on the path spiraling down to where we are now. Now, when everyone sees through the endless red and black smokescreens that define the Berlusconi era, he can’t even do the decent thing and sell the club to someone who will bring back the respect that all of those legendary players used to earn this club. There is delay after delay, with his horrifying insults only silenced by his own near death experiences. No transparency, no plan, no common decency shown to anyone, least of all the fans who kept his little PR project going for 30 years.
|In Azzurri blue, red and black or on or off the pitch, he is an exemplary human being|
This is not my Milan. With any luck, it will soon no longer be Silvio Berlusconi’s, either. But Milan haven’t had any luck lately. So on Friday, the club may or may not announce another clown to be manager. The players will come back to Milanello the following week, although it’s really unclear as to which players will actually come back. There may or may not be a deal to sell a majority or even a minority of the club sometime in Berlusconi’s lifetime. The only thing that is for certain is that none of this will be done respectfully. It will be a long time before anyone is able to put fear or respect in the hearts of Milan’s opponents after so many years of douchebaggery. And for those of us who fell in love with the club when at least the players commanded such fear and respect, that is much worse than not winning trophies. This is not my Milan.
This post inspired by the music of The Smiths’ “Sweet and Tender Hooligan”