I wonder how far it will take some people to admit they got it wrong? Every warning about Yonghong Li and the many question marks around his takeover of Milan from Silvio Berlusconi was dismissed with anything from snide remarks to virulent abuse. How long can you keep your head buried in the sand before you suffocate?
I shouldn’t be surprised. We are in an era where even facts cannot change an opinion, no matter how obviously and objectively wrong it is. Where people are open to accepting just about any breach of decorum and common sense as long as we are cheering on our team. I was never one for blind loyalty, as that tends to lead you off a cliff. I look at the situation and then make up my own mind. Sadly, fewer and fewer do the same.
Anyone who needs a high-interest loan from a well-known vulture fund just to complete the closing after months of delays is going to raise questions. It is not unpatriotic for a Milanista to look critically at the situation and ask questions. In football, we feel as if we are one group of people united under a flag, the club colours, the universal language of football. That can tempt us into overlooking the negatives that will ultimately damage our beloved side, but we must protect and preserve the essence of our identity. The reason we support this team in the first place. Otherwise, we may as well be glory-hunters and there is no greater insult to a football fan than that.
Sticking with your club through thick and thin, the bad times and the good, does not mean staying silent as the whole shebang careens out of control towards a dead end. You speak up. You state the truth. You don’t insult someone else who raises a hand and asks if maybe we should take a turning right about now.
You can complain that Financial Fair Play rules are illogical and implemented in a ridiculous way that allows Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester United to spend freely, but that’s not the point. They have access to revenue streams the Rossoneri can only dream of. Are Milan being hard done by? Probably. Are they being used to set an example to 'bigger' clubs? Yes. Is Yonghong Li a reliable steward of this glorious club and its history? Absolutely not.
He scraped by with loans from who knows which tax haven in the Caribbean to keep increasing the capital, but finally failed to make the deadline for €32m. The fact this happened mere days before the UEFA FFP ruling will presumably embolden the ruling body in the belief they made the right decision by clamping down.
Negotiations are in full swing for the sale to a US billionaire – a proper one, not the supposed rich Chinese businessman whose offices were empty save for some half-eaten food and an eviction notice – but it comes too late. Yonghong Li had ample opportunity to sell the club or even bring in other investors, and by all accounts turned them down so he could maintain control in the desperate hope something might change in future. We never even got to the October deadline to repay €303m (plus €77m in interest) to Elliott Management, as he folded well before the inevitable collapse.
It’s amusing to see the usual ‘you’re all jealous ‘cos Juventus didn’t win the Champions League’ crowd suddenly cheering on Rocco Commisso. With no hint of irony, let alone an apology for their previous statements, they now call for Yonghong Li to pass the baton to someone more reliable. What do they think we’ve been doing for the past year?! There’s no ulterior motive, there never was, other than what was best for Italian football and for Milan.
Milan deserve better than this. Milanisti deserve better than this. Let’s not forget the campaign that fans were running before Berlusconi bailed out: Save Milan. That is all that matters.