Of Maldini and Boban

Milan fans were overjoyed last year when Paolo Maldini finally came back to Milan as a director. Alongside Leonardo, they brought in players like Paqueta and Piatek, and Milan almost returned to Champions League, their best finish in years. Then Leonardo left, and Maldini was appointed as Technical Director. Boban left his job at FIFA and joined him. Two club legends working side by side to clean up over a decade of mismanagement. That was four and a half months ago. Today, fans have already turned on them, calling for their heads on a platter. Forget the lack of patience or even footballing knowledge these so-called fans have. Forget the fact that these people whine about how the club burned legends like Seedorf, Inzaghi, and Gattuso as coaches, all of whom had more than four months to do their jobs. The blatant lack of respect for Maldini and Boban by people who claim to support the club is unforgivable.

Four and a half months.

That fans are trying to justify their hate because they have suffered is like the kid with the bandaged knee complaining to the serious burn victim that they know about pain. Not only are Maldini and Boban also fans of Milan, they spent their playing careers sweating blood on the pitch for the club. And now they have given up their privileged lives to work tirelessly around the clock trying to not only revive the club, not only get us back to winning ways, but also to improve the club by bringing it into the 21st century of football.

If you step back to look at their jobs, it’s like climbing Mount Everest… after finding your way up from the ocean floor. They are tasked with rebuilding a squad that was long neglected by Galliani, then pimped out by Mirabelli. The off-the-pitch drama three owners in less than two years and accompanying financial issues have decimated the club’s image and the mindset of everyone involved. The mentality within the club has been so damaged for so long, it will be like waking someone from a coma to try to revive it. And that is to say nothing of the fans. Milan fans used to have dignity and class, and now they are amongst the worst in Serie A. Their patience is tissue paper-thin, and their hate and rage is like gun powder in a fire. Needless to say, it is not an ideal job. And only people who love the club so dearly would ever be crazy enough take it on.

They gave  Milan everything then, and came back to give everything again

When Elliott took over and Maldini first returned, they all said that they wanted to build a young, talented squad of players who would play for the shirt and grow with the club. They said it would take time and patience, but that they would do everything possible to return the club to greatness as soon as possible. And that they would need to do it within FFP guidelines. When Maldini became technical director and Boban came in a mere four and a half months ago, they reiterated that same plan.

So far, they have done exactly what they said. They slashed the wage bill by €25m and decreased the squad size. All of the players they have brought in are young and talented, and with low salaries. They are all hardworking players without discipline issues. And the squad is more cohesive than any of Galliani’s patchwork free transfer squads of his last ten years. Also more cohesive than Mirabelli’s binge shopping squad of two years ago.

When was the last time anyone at Milan signed a player this good?

When Gattuso left at the end of the season, they had to hire a new coach. Only they weren’t hired and the FFP issues resolved with UEFA until after all of the “world class” coaches had been snatched up by other teams. So they took a chance on a coach that everyone believed to be the next big thing, tactically capable and with good ideas. He didn’t pan out. Rather than wait until our Champions League hopes were completely gone, they did the right thing and brought in someone who could improve the mentality and stabilize the team. There weren’t any better options at the time, anyway.

How doing all of this in just four and a half months justifies any hate is beyond me. Like even if they were strangers to the club, they deserve to be applauded for doing more in four and a half months to bring this club back online than anyone else has in ten years. But because of short term results, fans have lost their minds and instead offer hate and are calling for them to be fired. And these are Milan legends. Not just disrespect, but hate.

They are in the office, at training, at the games, supporting the team always

Maldini and Boban have done everything they said they would do. In just four and a half months, they have changed the core of this team and created a sustainable project both financially and in terms of footballing value. The results will follow, but it will take time, like they said. As for the fans, I have no words. We are blessed that these legends love the club so much that they would sacrifice everything for it. That is what should be said of Maldini and Boban.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure’s “To Wish Impossible Things”

Our next match is
Serie A Week 13
Milan vs. Napoli
Saturday, November 23 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)

Of Maldini and Boban Of Maldini and Boban Reviewed by Elaine on 6:20 AM Rating: 5
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