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The Long Road to Rebuilding


I am beginning to comprehend
the mystery
of the gift of suffering.
It is true as some
have said
that it is a crucible
in which the gold of one’s spirit
is rendered
and shines.
(from Alice Walker’s “The Long Road Home”)

That poem was written about Mohammed Ali, but it could just as easily have been written about supporting Milan. How many times have I written over the last five and a half years about our suffering, and tried to be optimistic about what the future held? It seems a pointless exercise at this point. And yet not. For we are still looking to rebuild, and in rebuilding there is hope. It’s just that it is a very long road to rebuilding.

The yellow brick road? Or the actual road to rebuilding?

For anyone who has been a fan of the club for more than five years, we have seen so much… coaches who burned down the house, and coaches who were burned by this house of cards. We have seen players like Ibra and Silva sold, then players like Constant, Birsa, Traore, Cerci, Matri, and so many more brought in for way too much money while results suffered. We suffered. We are rebuilding they said, and then they would burn down the house again.

How much more can a Milan fan’s heart take? I feel like that is a personal question, and the answer is different for everyone. For some, it was too much long ago. Others are on the brink of shedding their Milan colors. Some get angry or entitled, others simply suffer. To each their own, unless we see fans do the kinds of things like they did to De Sciglio or Donnarumma or others. Then it becomes a problem for everyone. We don’t need to add to the suffering, and no one is entitled to abuse another human being. But I also understand those who walk away because they’re tired of being abused by the team.

So much suffering.

So how long must the longsuffering wait? Are we actually rebuilding? Obviously, the attempts have been made. No one spends 11 months and hundreds of millions to buy a club, then invests over €200m more in new players just to play a cruel trick on the fans. We must have patience, they said. And they were right. But with all of the questions about management and Financial Fair Play, there is definitely a chance that this is not the end to our suffering.

The long road to rebuilding was reset once again when Montella was fired and Gattuso was promoted to replace him. And that didn’t seem like much of a reset. Gattuso’s results to date should not be shocking, he’s more of a big, scary, hairy cheerleader than a meticulous tactician. To his credit, he sorted out the four man backline after only two games, but he’s not an upgrade from where we were, so how could he be part of the rebuilding? How can we believe that this is finally our time to hope and dream again?

If he comes back as a director, will it be third time's the charm? Or another disappointment?

Again, that is a bit personal. But we know the road will be hard, we know that patience is hard. It takes more than money or even shiny new players to rebuild, and the responses of the media and social media have made it clear that we as a fan base don’t have what it takes yet. We as fans particularly need the patience that is forged when suffering is all that we know. I mean look at the 12 or so Inter fans that have been with their club more than a season. Not since they took down the league in 2006 with Calciopoli have they or their previous bandwagoners seen this kind of success. And if they can support such a ridiculous club for more than five games, then why can we not suffer indefinitely for a team that has heart, history, and colors that inspire greatness?

We all dream of painting Piazza Duomo red and black again... someday

This road is long, it is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the entitled who think it’s okay to abuse other human beings, much less our own soldiers of the pitch. But that’s okay, I’m sure all of those guys have already got their very own Icardi jerseys. We cannot know how long it will take to rebuild and to enjoy the success we all long for. But for those who stick it out and suffer with every 3:30am match or financial setback or coaching change, we know that we will eventually be rewarded. As Alice Walker so eloquently put, the gift of suffering is the crucible in which “the gold of one’s spirit is rendered and shines.” Will you pass the test? Will your spirit render gold or will it turn to stone? Will your spirit shine or will you contribute to the darkness?  Will this suffering deepen your character and your fanship? The only way to truly find out is to take the long road to rebuilding.


This post inspired by the music of “Inno Milan”


Our next match is
Serie A Week 18
Milan vs. Atalanta
Saturday, December 23 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)

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