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Sunday November 10 2019
Accepting Milan as they are now

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall looks at Milan’s plight and argues these are the times when true fans show their love for the club.

Mediolanum, that was a football kit, red and black, worn by Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, and Frank Rijkaard. So many names are in this chapter, San Siro was iconic already, but was even more so after this. George Weah, Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, even writing these few sentences brings a smile, Il Grande Milan.

Silvio Berlusconi did so much for this team, but his money ran dry and football changed unrecognisably, as the oil-rich billionaires made Silvio look like a pauper. Even a modern-day Arrigo Sacchi couldn’t save them now. That doesn’t mean there is no hope, it simply means that the Rossoneri have to re-assess how they view their prestigious club.

Changing perceptions on something you love is not treason, nor is it infidelity. It is more often the essence of love, of development. It is the second stage of love when you realise that everything isn’t perfect. You realise that she gets things stuck in her teeth and that actually, that confidence is born out of vulnerability. This is the second stage.

The stage after is when you start to realise that those little idiosyncrasies are the reason you love her more and they then become even more important to you than those original beautiful elements. This is perhaps how Milan fans should feel about their club, because as they prepare to face Juventus, it is clear that there is no honeymoon anymore.

Milan travel to Juventus with slim hopes of a result. If one is to be honest, Stefano Pioli is uninspiring and quite honestly nothing more than a doorstop until Milan start again next summer. This season will be one of disappointment and anger for many fans, as once again their team fail to live up to the great Rossoneri sides of the past.

Even if Milan win tonight, it won’t matter a jot. They may get Europa League football, but this is almost an insult to their past. Next season when Milan are travelling to Ukraine or Belarus on a Thursday night, Milan fans of a certain vintage will be watching the game in a daze remembering Van Basten’s scissor kick against IFK Gothenburg, or younger fans will be thinking of Kaka.

It doesn’t need to be like this. Milan have changed. There are a thousand articles about Milan’s take-over bids, the Yonghong Li problems and their landed situation with Elliott. They are not for now. They do bear relevance however, as Milan cannot spend in a comparable way to the 1980s and 1990s, but they can still spend.

Ivan Gazidis is often called a man who over-promises, but even he recognised the scale of the project in Milan. He urged the fan base to temper their expectations and reassess how they look at the club. He was right in this, at least. As he said, they are a club looking to invest in youth, but they also might be selling these players off when they come of age.

It is a sad situation for a great club to go through a transition, but it is common and Milan are not excluded just because of their history. Their neighbours Inter, whilst perhaps not as successful on the European front historically, have started from scratch enough times. Manchester United, Arsenal, Marseille (that’s a while other story) and so many others are nowhere near where they believe these clubs belong.

So, what do Milan do? If you view the comments section below this piece you will probably embark on a journey where many say that the ownership, the direction and the identity of the club is in crisis and to an extent, they will have a point.

However, the question to all those doomsday prophets is this. In most circumstances the big clubs bounce back, they eventually get their backer, they eventually find that coach. They are also lucky to have had a glorious history and the memories to show for it. Now they are going through a rocky time in their relationship, but it is these times when true support is needed, it is in the dark times they should be proud of their club.

Knowing something is imperfect and still loving it is more evolved than loving that wonderful kit.

Have your say...
ITS NOT GIVING ME PLEASURE HELPING MILAN AS I AM THE OPPOSITE.. AN INTERISTA. BUT IN TROUBLE TIME YOU HELP OUT EACH OTHER.. IF MILAN WANT TO STOP FROM FURTHER FALL OR ANY KIND OF ACCIDENTS THEY NEED TO ACT WISE.. FOUNDATION IS THERE ONLY TIME IS NEEDED TO BE ESTABLISH. DONT SELL HOME TALENTS ANYMORE I SWEAR. DONNA NEEDS TO STOPPED FROM MOVING.CALABRIA NEEDS LIFETIME CONTRACT.CALDARA WILL BE COLOSSAL ALONG WITH ROMAGNOLI. TRUST ME..UNION
on the 19th November, 2019 at 3:45pm
I accept Milan are rubbish. Supported them all my life, I saw the glory days of the 90s and thought it would never end. How wrong was I!?!
on the 12th November, 2019 at 7:13pm
Milan fans should put their money where their complaining mouths are. Buy your club and run it yourselve.
on the 11th November, 2019 at 7:18am
Silvio the most corrupt person in Italy.
on the 11th November, 2019 at 7:11am
That's it they hit restart button and thats more fine than going with gattusso with smaller terms. They can now stick with pioli like fiorentina did, in next season sell two in mid and one fw then bring in Sergej Milinković-Savić Expect Great!
on the 11th November, 2019 at 12:05am
Maybe they'd have a bit more identity, as well as plyrs who'd fight for the shirt more if they'd kept the likes of Cutrone n Locatelli. Its OK having Boban n Maldini but what about the actual guys on the pitch!? Mind u even the promising buys like Kessie, Conti, Higuian n Caldara have gone a bit pear shaped so there is something damaged in the upper echelons of the club. The fact they want to knock down San Siro for a smaller, more convenient, at reduced cost stadium just about sums it all up!
on the 10th November, 2019 at 11:02pm
@Melan You can`t do serious business in football without winning. So when you say, that Elliott not trying to win, it sounds ridiculous. Maybe strategy is not working, maybe they choose wrong people to represent them at the club, maybe too many mess was left before they step in. But they are trying to win, i don`t doubt that...
on the 10th November, 2019 at 8:11pm
As a Milan fan I will never accept mediocrity. Four things are needed to get Milan back to the top a) an owner with money to spend and ambition to win b) a world class manager c) players worthy of wearing the shirt d) ownership of the stadium
on the 10th November, 2019 at 5:49pm
As a Milan fan I will never accept mediocrity. Four things need to happen to get Milan back to the top a) ownership with money to spend and ambition to win b) a world class manager c) players worthy of wearing the shirt d) ownership of the stadium
on the 10th November, 2019 at 5:46pm
MILAN IMBROILED WITH SOME MISS-MANAGEMENT ISSUES. SO DONT TANGLED IT WITH ON-FIELD ISSUES. AS THAT CAME FROM BERLUSCONI ERA FIRST AS THEY WERE STRUGGLING WITH FINANCE. THEN THE CHINESE OWNER NOVICE THEY WERE TRIED TO INVEST IN MILAN. AND NOW ELLIOT MANAGEMENT WHO DIDNT PROPERLY BROUGHY MILAN FAILED TO SEE MILAN AS THEIR OWN SON RATHER THAN ESTRANGED ONE...... AND NOW MY POINT IS IF THEY REALLY ENVISION THEM WITH MILAN THEN THINGS WILL REALLY GET SOON SOMEDAY.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 4:08pm
It's very sad to see such a huge club gasping for air just to stay relevant in Serie A, let along Europe. They're now just a distant memory in the CL, a team the younger fans nowadays can't even remember doing anything remotely good in that competition.

And now they're scrounging around in the past again, trying to sign an OAP in Ibra. Talk about desperate and gimmicky.

It's just quick-fixes and seasonal turnover of managers and players year after year after year.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 2:45pm
Juve cant score that many, its fine. besides we'll bore anyone to sleep, so they wont have the energy to score 6 or 7.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 2:30pm
First people say this player is too old, that player is too old, there should be younger players. Milan has the youngest squad in Italy and maybe Europe. People are expecting miracles after 1 week.
This isnt FIFA on the playstation.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 2:04pm
I agree with post. Supporting your team can be tortuous but you can't escape from the almost genetic devotion for your team. As a Juve supporter, 08, 09, 10, 11 were neverending cycles of mediocrity (07 proud of our 1st time promotion). From 7th-58pts to unbeaten champions in 2012 with good signings at all levels, Marotta/Conte/Pirlo/Vidal. Milan are too big to fail permanently but coach is essential. Shouldn't have missed Conte. Daft appointments of serial failing coaches; who's next, Ventura?
on the 10th November, 2019 at 2:00pm
@cat soup, 6-7-0 goals is a far stretch. If Costa and Ramsey start I can see Juve scoring 3-4 but if Bernardeschi and Matuidi starts look for a laboring 1-0 or 2-1.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 1:55pm
You cannot question the loyalty of fans at this time as we have repeatedly been kicked and spat on by the hierarchy. We are always the final consideration. Good people (certain managers and players) have taken the blame and bared the cross for incompetent people above them. Cutrone and Gattuso are recent cases in point. No plan, no structure, no passion leads us to this sad place we are now. Yes I will always love Milan but currently it’s extremely difficult.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 1:45pm
Tell me what there is to love about the club at the moment? We can’t keep living in the past, we have had a few chances to turn things around the past few years and we self sabotaged each time. Mihajlovic, Montella, and recently Gattuso were all doing well and the horrible management each time threw them to the curb for the next new shiny thing. And what has changed? Nothing. Now there’s talk of selling Kessie and Piatek. Keep buying and selling and failing and it will never get better.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 1:37pm
Ever since berlusconi and galliani destroyed the team in 2012 it has been a adjustment to a new philosophy those who stuck around after that calamity shouldn't have their love for the club questioned.Personally i am fed up at the lack of progress at milan even without spending money milan shouldn't be a mid table serie a side considering the resources they can call upon. I don't expect the glory days back just signs that the club is moving in the right direction.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 1:20pm
Well no kidding?

We will support this club always and forever, BUT will never accept it's current situation. That will give off the idea of settling and lowering the bar. It will never happen. We will demand to be the best again until it happens.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 12:41pm
Don’t tell me how to love my club! Yes I fell in love with Milan when they were the best but just because they are not the best anymore doesn’t mean I don’t still love them. But I am angry with them, I am angry with Berlusconi for selling to someone like Li who was not financially sound, I am angry with Elliott for treating my club like a business, the difference between Silvio and Elliott is that Silvio wanted to win
on the 10th November, 2019 at 12:31pm
Watching this Milan is utter agony. Every week you hope that they've hit rock-bottom and this will be the turning point. It never arrives. I've been waiting 5 years for it to improve. After 25 years of being a milan fan I can't take much more. I fear tonight Juventus will make Milan the laughing stock of Europe with a humiliating defeat like a 6 or 7-0. And that will be me done.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 10:37am

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