Reality and Why It’s Overrated

There’s an awful, overused and misapplied quote by Marilyn Monroe who gets reverence mostly because she died young and beautiful. It goes something along the lines of, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”

First of all this is a terrible quote for so many reasons, but just factually – it’s adrift of reality. That’s not how things are. That’s not how people work, that’s not how life works. But at the same time it’s also true in the sense, that Monroe is the sort of person who IS able to play it like that. If Kathy Bates said that quote, nobody would remember it.

If you can’t handle Silvio at his worst, you don’t deserve him at his best. Just kidding. You know the history of AC Milan, it’s the most marketable aspect of the team. That’s the reality of 2016 (insert future year when reposting this). You don’t need a history lesson on all the great things Silvio did for Milan – he’s more than happy to remind you. I’m also not going to just complain about Silvio, because I can just link an old one instead.

The thing about the report of Mihajlović being fired is that it doesn’t really matter whether or not it’s true, it’s Schrodinger’s firing. Mihajlović has control of let’s say 5% of this whole enterprise. He’s done a good enough job, but again, that’s irrelevant because this is about Silvio, and his desire to run all over the manager. This isn’t new. Ancelotti detailed it in his book. Leonardo spoke out about it before mutually parting ways. Allegri watched it go on and said nothing signing an extension that should never have existed. So we watched Max and the team give up on each other year-by-year – the moments of brilliance becoming further and further apart. It got so bad he was fired on the air by Barbara Berlusconi. To all the revisionists overinflating the importance of Allegri – which diminished in each subsequent season, but was enough for a year and a half of good football as well as the third place finish which brought Milan a lame-duck Champion’s League campaign – good times. That happened after a loss against Sassuolo.

But since reality isn’t important, and may actually be harmful for your health as a Milan supporter, try aligning your thinking to Silvio’s. He said we’re finishing third this season. He told Mihajlović he had to win all the remaining games in the season to keep his job. Again, whether or not Mihajlović has been fired doesn’t matter to this – nor does whether Silvio’s comment was tongue-in-cheek. If he wants to, the comment means nothing. If he wants to, the comment is literal – and Mihajlović isn’t willing to play ball and keep it under wraps until the season is over. It doesn’t seem likely he stays past the summer now, the open disdain portion of Silvio’s schtick is out in full-force. Maybe it’s not now, but knowing Sinisa, it’s probably not going to be live on the air. Sassuolo does things to a Milan coach.

So to management, so proud of Casa Milan, congratulations this is an achievement. It is a great honor to the titles we have won and a nice memento to those great feelings. Now what are you doing to win titles in the future? Not building a stadium. Not improving revenues. Failing to create a culture for youth to develop? The sins are much greater than a coach; they’re complex and dynamic problems that don’t have easy solutions. Sure they do in theory: decentralize power, invest in and listen to scouts, develop a multi-year plan instead of deceiving the fans into thinking third is a reasonable goal when it’s not, not throwing the kitchen sink at chasing third every year at the expense of integrating and discovering whether the youth is quality or not. Get serious about a stadium and a sustainable future, so you’re not scrambling to make up 93m holes when the Champion’s League revenue goes away. But you should have known it was going away. Again, we’re drifting off again – this is reality. We’re not in reality, we’re in Milan. Silvio controls the message, and things are terrific until they aren’t. Milan are the greatest until they aren’t. Inside Casa Milan they are exactly what their history is. Outside of Casa Milan, they’re hoping to finish ahead of points on Sassuolo.

The easy thing to do is say this is all Silvio’s fault. It’s more than him losing interest in the club. It’s more than the Euro economy, Italy in particular, stalling over the past two decades. It’s more than his children seeing an increasing role in his finances and the direction of the money. It’s more than his time was spent battling the legal system and finding ways to evade jail. It’s more than the 540m Mondadori fine. It’s more than the huberis of two men who achieved so much success that they thought they must themselves be responsible for almost all of it. It’s about how all of this is happening and yet instead, we’re here watching TMZ instead of the news. Will Mihajlović be fired?! What transfers will the club look to bring in?! What will the next manager look like?! Will Milan win the Coppa Italia / any number of remaining fixtures?! Tune in tomorrow to find out!

Somebody has been asleep at the wheel for a long time, both at Milan, and in covering them, that it took until the fourth iteration of the exact same show four years in a row for people to get mad at Silvio Berlusconi, the guy who wants you to be talking about him in the first place. The man who is relevant, once again, as always, and reminding everyone who’s in control. Reminding you who’s reality this is and who’s world you’re living in. When he was cashing checks, winning titles, and changing the rules in a good way – this is the Silvio everybody wants. When he’s helping come up with FFP, cashing 90m checks and claiming they’re worth 150, and winning Trofeo Berlusconis, this isn’t what they wanted. Best and worst, same guy. Blaming Silvio now for the flaws, vanity and irreverence that made him into what he was now is having your cake and eating it too – and that’s OK to live in that reality. One day, when you own AC Milan, you can make your version of events into the reality everyone else has to live in.


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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.

3 Thoughts on “Reality and Why It’s Overrated

  1. Sambit on April 10, 2016 at 12:11 AM said:

    Commenting here after a year and a half I think. Nice work Pete. Just about the conclusion I came to last year. We are living in Silvio’s wonderland. He needs to control everything. The only part I don’t understand is why spend last summer? Everything was going along fine. Break even in revenues, reality dose for fans, Galliani pushing everyone out of the door to show that he can do everything himself (probably even referee the match). Maybe this summer will give the answer.

    A couple of thoughts:
    These past couple of years have been so bad that people have stopped caring. Like things were always going to be like this. Like the last champions league title came a century ago. Like we are Nottingham Forrest.

    There are a combination of factors working together here which may be the reason Silvio said what he had to say about Miha. Why even give people like Abate and Monto time in front of the press. For example, what have both of them said over the past 3-4 weeks. “It’s unacceptable for Milan to finish 7th” or “We can’t be starting over and over every year”. And what do they do. Take crappy free kicks, put shitty crosses and defend like they are back in school. If I was Silvio and see that these assholes are still the key people in the dressing room, it would make me want to put a snide remark in the press. The question to be asked is: Would we be better just playing with a combination of new recruits and youth players, even if that means us finishing 14th for a season. Just play rollicking football without a freakin care. Amputate the diseased parts. Or be in the situation we are in?

    • Pete Acquaviva on April 10, 2016 at 6:48 AM said:

      Hi Sambit,

      Alright let’s go through this.
      1. Spend last summer – because at a certain point, the weight of having to create an entire team is too much burden to bear on one or even two seasons. Silvio used to just be able to turn on the switch and create a winning side. He spent money. Now that’s not even on the radar, and the 90m he spend (which for reference, after all the wages, taxes, expiring contracts, fees etc, didn’t end up costing Milan more than 5m in total) literally was putting a band aide on a bullet hole. If he didn’t spend that money, Milan right now would be in about 10-14th place. He has to spend this amount several more times to even be in the conversation of Italy, and probably half a decade more of this with some key hits on big players to be ready for Europe.
      2. Re: Nottingham, I’m with you on that, I even used the same metaphor, I believe, in the past.
      3. This question is one I’ve been working in my head for a while, and I wholeheartedly believe the best way is to bite the bullet, break in these youth players, and find out instead of angling for a 6th place Europa League spot for the last decade. Worth mentioning they’ve failed in achieving that EL spot for several years now. At least if you break in the youth, you find out what you have instead of slowly letting it trickle into the first team, and wondering if you will in fact need Locatelli since you decided you didn’t need to buy a better player than Bertolacci. They want the reward of breaking in youth, but don’t want the work of having to do it and concede at least one season to mistakes. Short term thinking like usual, which is the real issue the club refuses to address.

      • Sambit on April 12, 2016 at 4:35 AM said:

        It looks like Silvio is reading this post!!! Miha has left, Brocchi is in. We are a mean reverting process. That apart, I would guess that finishing 10-14th wouldn’t really matter. Silvio has just lost interest and is behaving like a lover scorned. In fact, I can see the day when starved of funds we will be on the brink of relegation and maybe then the finger will be pointed at Galliani. Everything that has been going on at Milan defines logic. A sensible owner would at least now get a stable hand (someone like a Ranieri or Unai Emery) just to steady the ship. Don’t spend too much. Promote from within. Finish in the Europa League places. Get a new cycle started.

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