Silent Tiger, Insolvent Dragon

Yesterday, an interview with David Han Li was released which promised to tell Yonghong Li’s side of the story. The question all of us wanted to know was “Why.” But we didn’t get that at all. All we got were veiled accusations and pointing the blame at everyone else but themselves. Most ironic was that he complained about the poor timing of “media attacks,” while attacking the Elliott Fund in the media at such a difficult time for Milan’s management. We really didn’t get any answers, just a confirmation that he and Yonghong Li were still the Silent Tiger, Insolvent Dragon.

More sinister than a megalomaniac?

Fans have accumulated over ten years of pain and hate and are currently aiming it at Elliott Management as well as club legends Maldini and Boban, instead of the people who actually hurt the club. While taking advantage of that and riding the wave of hate after testing the waters with Yonghong Li’s personal Twitter account, David Han Li offered no explanation whatsoever as to why they purchased the club without the necessary funds, why they involved the Elliott Fund in the first place, let alone why they missed their payments and defaulted on their loan, leaving their “beloved” Milan (as well as €500 million in investments) to Elliott Management.

He tried to endear fans by describing how he grew up a fan of Milan. Then he accused “those in power” of leaking information to the press at inopportune times, including specifically accusing Elliott Management of planting media stories against them. No explanation of how that could possibly change their bank account balance or make them rich enough to fulfill the financial obligations they agreed to, just blame. Just like they blamed China for not being able to buy Milan in the first place.

Maybe if he had played his cards right, he could afford a bigger screen

First of all, they clearly did not do their homework. Maybe China operates differently, but in the Western world, media leaks are part of the process. And they are not always leaks. Journalists have become vapid, soulless predators and will do anything for a story. He claimed they haven’t talked to anyone until now because they “didn’t trust anyone,” then ran to the very same press he blamed for their insolvency. There is a reason that Yonghong Li has been investigated for criminal financial activities in both China and Italy. That’s because not paying your financial commitments is a crime, whereas leaking information to the press is not always criminal.

Under the Yonghong Li episode, we were forced to suffer with Fassone and Mirabelli. While the Chinese uninvestors wanted to hire Italians, they hired people without experience. They had no plan, and no idea what they were doing. For example, after choosing and sticking with Montella for some unknown reason, Mirabelli chose Gattuso over current PSG coach Thomas Tuchel… and has since bragged about it. They brought in players with big wages, who have since fallen out of favor with fans, such as Kessie, Rodriguez, Calhanoglu, and Biglia, and players who never fell into favor like Antonio Donnarumma and Borini. They also signed players who are already a distant memory, like Bonucci and Andre Silva. Mirabelli and Raiola created the Donnarumma Cycle, which included bringing in Pepe Reina at the rate of €3m per year. We have been paying almost €10m per year in goalkeeper salaries alone since then, all because of Mirabelli. We are still suffering because of Yonghong Li and his pal.

The mute leading the destroyers of dreams

Meanwhile the Elliott Fund came in and cleared Milan’s debt, because, you know they actually had the money they said they did. They negotiated with UEFA for nearly a year, but were finally able to clear the FFP violations of both Berlusconi and Yonghong Li. They have lowered the wagebill a whopping €25 million in a single mercato, and dumped the dead weight like Montolivo, lowering the squad size to a more manageable 25 players. They said they would invest in talented young players who would grow with Milan and pay low wages, and they have done exactly that. They even managed to bring Ibrahimovic back, successfully negotiating with the notorious Mino Raiola for his contract. But they did ask for patience. And thanks to David Han Li’s not-so-tell-all, fans have even less of that now.

Unlike Yonghong Li and his untrustworthy sidekick, who failed the Maldini Litmus Test, Maldini came back for the Elliott Fund. He is now actually our technical director, alongside fellow Milan legend Zvonimir Boban, who left an important job at FIFA to come back and help rebuild his beloved club. While both of these directors have also not done their specific jobs before now, they bring with them generations of actual football experience, specifically at Milan. They have given up their comfortable lives to right the cumulative wrongs of over ten years of mismanagement and two ownerships, including the commercial break-length era of Yonghong Li. They may not be perfect, but they are real, they are still here, and the money backing them and their transfers is also real. The money is ironically there because Yonghong Li's money was not.

Making signings that actually matter

If you follow the rationale of the David Han Li interview, any of us fans could have bought the club we love, not paid the bills, turned it over to a vulture fund when we defaulted on our loan, and then hypocritically blamed the media and everyone else when morale was so low. Things are not rosy at the club, with the fans being the most caustic they have ever been in my memory. No one is willing to give patience to a couple of Milan legends who have only been in their positions for six months now, trying to clean up more than a decade of mess. Everyone wants the Elliott Fund to sell the club, as if anyone else could or would have invested as much as they have and given financial security back to Milan.

But hey, let’s jump back on the Chinese wagon that has no wheels, because memories are short and tempers are even shorter. By all means, use the ignorant hashtags of #ElliottOut and follow Yonghong Li’s Twitter account, which is being filtered by at least a translator, if not more. Yonghong Li stole years of Milan’s rebuilding, between negotiations, fake ownership, frozen transfer markets, and now being owned by a vulture fund. When you consider the club, its history, reputation, as well as the lives and livelihoods it represents for all of the employees, their families, as well as us fans, wouldn’t an apology from Yonghong Li’s accomplice be more appropriate than a blame session?

No money, no glory

Li fans are like flat earthers. Seeing is not believing, they would rather stick their heads inside of their rectal cavity and pretend that what they’re seeing there is not feces. Any success the Chinese ownership enjoyed was by propping themselves up on the ruins of what was once a great club before they poured gasoline on it, lit the match, and walked away. David Han Li’s interview confirmed nothing, except that too many Milan fans today will believe anything but the truth. But thank you, David Han Li, for reminding us how much more financially stable the club is now in spite of you and who is actually to blame for Milan’s situation even now. Instead of giving us answers, you proved what we already knew. Silent Tigers, Insolvent Dragons.

This post inspired by the music of David Bowie’s “China Girl”

Our next match is
Serie A Week 19
Cagliari vs. Milan
Saturday, January 11 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)

Silent Tiger, Insolvent Dragon Silent Tiger, Insolvent Dragon Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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