Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about the past five years at Milan is how management have treated the fans like worthless peasants. They insulted our sensibilities for years by selling favorite players to balance their incompetent budgets. When the Curva spoke out against the big problems they saw, they ignored them or even worse, added insults to their sound bytes, leaving their legacy as fat, spoiled aristocrats who no longer cared about the club and certainly not the fans. But that seems to be changing with the new management. They recognize the schism between club and fans, and are wooing fans back with words that are like music to our ears. They seem to understand that a club is nothing without its fans, and are beginning their reign with a fan focus.
|The new owners will attempt to honor not just the Chinese fans, but all Milan fans|
There is an interview in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport with Han Li in which he talks about his lifelong love for the club as well as the plans for the future. He said “Milan fans are located in every corner of the planet, especially in China.” Later, he said “We want the club to belong to all the fans.” Amongst all of the plans, which seem to coincide with the majority of fans’ desires, he spoke of the stadium issue. “We are speaking carefully with the fans and the managers to decide whether to renovate San Siro or build a new stadium.” (translations courtesy of @MilanEye on Twitter.)
This level of thoughtfulness and respect of the fans is completely foreign to Milan fans, who have not only had our hearts repeatedly crushed by the heartless decisions of management, but have also been publicly insulted by their words again and again. It’s hard not to put trust in people who at least claim to value our opinion, and are even seeking the opinions of fans in making the big decisions ahead.
|Something fans have begged for all of these years... the return of great ones|
The first quote, “Milan fans are located in every corner of the planet, especially in China,” showed acknowledgement of the longtime fans of Serie A and Milan in China, but also the rest of the world. He followed that up with a quote about bringing Milan back to the top. Isn’t that the desire of every Milan fan in the world?
He then opened a welcoming hand by saying “We want the club to belong to all the fans.” Followed by “After the closing we’ll do everything to improve the club.” He talked about bringing past players into the club, about keeping the history and culture of Milan and Italy alive, and bringing great players to the club to honor the passion, glory, and success of Milan in the past. What’s not to love?
|The San Siro is unparalleled... but hey, let's find out what the fans want...|
As for the stadium issue, he was wise not to make a decision yet, but is clearly open to the input of both the fans and the new managers of the club. This is probably the one issue that divides the fans the most, the nostalgia of the beautiful San Siro, as well as its large capacity. Or the prospect of a new stadium, lower in capacity, but likely to sell out more often and with better bathrooms and amenities, amongst other things. The ownership of a stadium is probably the biggest determining factor, and with the San Siro, that decision would only be able to be made by the local government and stadium management, as well as our evil cugini.
It’s impossible to read these words and not be optimistic. I mean we’ve been burned so much in the past, it’s difficult to read anything without skepticism. But certainly the Sino Europe group are saying all of the right things. If they can do the right things, too, then maybe they truly can restore Milan to the glory and success that fans associate the club with. Certainly, the very least we can see is that the new owners have a fan tocus.
This post inspired by the music of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know”
Our next match is a friendly
FC Chiasso vs. AC Milan
Saturday, October 8 • 16:00 CEST (10am EDT)