Stadio Berlusconi – Why Silvio Berlusconi is Done with Milan

If you’ve taken a psychology class, you’ve most likely seen the above video. In it, a gorilla walks in, waves, and leaves. But since the video asked you to perform a tangental task (how many times players wearing white pass the ball), you’re not supposed to notice the gorilla. It doesn’t work with everyone, especially those who know it’s coming, but to the uninitiated mind, this genuinely can be mind blowing.

For months now, Milan have been toting their stadium plans. In fact, according to reports today, the stadium plans have been written in pencil since last March. 11 months now, they’ve had more or less what you can see from Gazetta today. Sure they were waiting on the confirmation of the site, they were waiting for approval of the city council, they were waiting for… a period like what’s happening with Pippo Inzaghi on the field.

This stadium, like how many people are wearing white passing a ball, is a distraction to take away from the rot and decay at the heart of AC Milan. This is decades of mismanagement, lack of foresight, and tunnel-vision for a project, that suddenly in 2008, seems to have discovered financial responsibility. A stadium doesn’t take away from this reality – it frames it in a different light.

Let there be no doubt, this stadium operation is a PR bomb wearing the unfamiliar camouflage as a “future” – requiring a full about-face from the inescapable nostalgia that sucks every Milan player into thinking he’s joining a squad on top of the world, built by the greatest CEO, and most importantly financed by the most important president in the history of club football.

Dive a bit deeper into the stadium commitment and it comes across as an even more cynical move. Gazette et al. all cite the sustainability of the stadium, and slightly brush under the rug the important finances. €300-320m seems the current estimate, but where it gets interesting is how Milan will pay for it. They claim entirely from sponsors. In order to get sponsors to pay for all of this, even your seat is going to have to be sold to a private company for naming rights. Stadio Berlusconi? More like the Emirates Arena in Milan. Perhaps you can sit in the Toyo Tires 8th row, or order a Silvio Berlusconi footlong special from the concession stand. For the most powerful man in Italy, doesn’t it seem a bit strange he’s not financing what could be the most enduring legacy he brings to the club?

The issue with Berlusconi is that he’s always thought of himself as bigger than the club. This wasn’t a problem when he actually was, but the chilly global recession has seen  Berlusconi’s wallet close while expecting the results to continue. Maybe he isn’t as naive as credited, and Silvio knows that he’s retuning Milan the way he found it in the mid 80s. Maybe he doesn’t, but as one of those in Italy benefitting from the Europe’s triple dip recession, he’s continued to act the pauper, and reach for a handout. Anto of Beyond the Pitch has an excellent take on Milan.

If this stadium doesn’t make clear, nothing will – Silvio Berlusconi is done with Milan. The flame has died, the door has shut, and the window isn’t going to open. By passing on the opportunity to truly immortalize himself in stadium form, Silvio is running out of ideas to cement his legacy. The issue comes that he feels he’s done enough. The most successful president. Created 3 winning cycles at the top of European football, driving Milan to the second most awarded club in the CL. Now though? Not a sniff of top three, the funds have dried up, not just over the last few years, but over the last decade, and Silvio has unceremoniously been thrown from Italian politics, as Renzi’s power becomes less dependent on a Berlusconi coalition.

This was the chance to make sure the Berlusconi name is never forgotten, and Silvio passed on the chance. Today is a wakeup call for the Milan supporters – Silvio doesn’t care.


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About Pete Acquaviva

Pete writes about Milan on this blog. Occasionally other things. You would know which of them it is if you've gotten this far.

One Thought on “Stadio Berlusconi – Why Silvio Berlusconi is Done with Milan

  1. RossoneriFido on February 5, 2015 at 3:20 AM said:

    Couldn’t agree more Pete.
    Maybe Casa Milan will be named after him.
    He is done that is for sure but no one is stupid enough to meet his ludicrous asking price.
    Still Forza Milan

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