An Open Letter Regarding the Managerial Situation at A.C. Milan

After falling to table leaders Juventus 2-1 at the San Siro on Saturday, and only picking up two out of a possible 15 points, Siniša Mihajlović was no longer deemed the man for the job as president Silvio Berlusconi sacked the Serbian on Tuesday.

After Sky Italia, Gianluca Di Marzio and several other media outlets broke the news on the decision to sack the Serbian tactician late Monday night, the club, in an official statement, confirmed his exit:

“Sinisa Mihajlovic has been relieved of his role as AC Milan coach. The club would like to thank Mihajlovic for the dedication and hard work carried out this season. Cristian Brocchi will now be in charge of the first team until the end of the season. AC Milan would like to welcome Mr. Brocchi and wish him all the best.”

After Cristian Brocchi conducted his first training session as manager of the club at Milanello yesterday, president Silvio Berlusconi spoke about the decision to sever ties with Mihajlović and continue to work towards the future. He had this to say, courtesy of his Facebook page:

“I thank Sinisa Mihajlovic for his work with maximum effort. However, Milan can and must do more. We need to finish the season in the best way possible, try to win the Coppa Italia, and of course return to Europe. Brocchi is a choice to prepare for the future. A future where Milan has to return to the play & results worthy of its history. At the end of the season we’ll draw our conclusions and we’ll work on all the necessary choices for that purpose.”

Here we go again. Another managerial sacking. The revolving door is always, well, revolving when it comes to the managerial situation at A.C. Milan. First it was Massimiliano Allegri who was relieved of his duties and replaced with Clarence Seedorf. The Dutchman, despite playing to some favorable results just six months into his managerial career, was kicked the curb. Then, Pippo Inzaghi was appointed as another debutant manager, but lasted one miserable season, finishing in 10th place for the 2014-15 season. Last summer, Mihajlović was selected by the higher-ups in hopes of bringing stability, energy and results to the post of the Rossoneri. Despite leading Milan all the way to the Coppa Italia final, which will be played against Juventus next month, and keeping his club somewhat competitive in the hunt for Europe, it wasn’t enough for him to finish the season, which quite frankly, is a head-scratcher when you consider Inzaghi’s tenure which saw the Italian see out the entire season without the comparable performance of Mihajlović.

Of course, Mihajlović was given what many managers before him weren’t: a fairly reasonable transfer window to build upon and compete with. The club did flounder around this past summer, but managed to haul in the likes of Alessio Romagnoli, Carlos Bacca, Andrea Bertolacci and Juraj Kucka for a total around 90 million euros. Enough to contend for a top three finish right? Well, not so fast.

Players, as we are witnessing firsthand this season, do not always yield the desired results. It takes a group of players who work hard, understand the objective, fight tooth and nail for success and have belief in the approach their manager has laid out in front of them. It takes a togetherness; a collective effort where each and every member of the club – top to bottom – should be accountable for their performance. But, let’s be real here. Milan is no ordinary club, rather a circus act or a television show centered around mystery and suspense (or comedy). “On the next episode of Serie A TIM’s A.C. Milan Traveling Circus…” You get my point.

Now, typically this is where I’d dive head first – analytically –  to try and decipher the entire situation, but why do that when I can just simply dig up an old piece on the sacking of Inzaghi or Seedorf? (Rinse and repeat). No no, that’s too easy of a route. This is where I will share my angst with the illogical approach to building a club to once again reach historic heights and restore the “Most Successful Club” label that the owner likes to sell so much.

First of all, how can you expect to build a foundation for future success when you are heavily involved in how the manager does his job? At what other European giant do you have an owner delegating his own strategies towards an opponent? Simply put, the micro-managing from Silvio is just unacceptable. At some point, you have to show trust in the manager and let him do his job the way he was hired to do it. Otherwise, Silvio should appoint himself manager. (Wait, I was just kidding. Please don’t).

Secondly, sacking your manager each and every summer doesn’t build anything. In fact, this causes setbacks. With every impending summer, the little progress you seem to make resets and it’s back to square one. In order to build continuity within a club, time and patience is needed. Understandably, these are dire times at Milan. They are on the brink of missing out on the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive year. However, when you sack a manager and still manage to keep around the rotten eggs in the squad, year in and year out, mediocrity is what you get.

Third, the club, while having shown signs of properly investing in winning players capable of propelling Milan back to elite status, seems to be very reluctant. For years, the problems have been obvious and the additions of Romagnoli and Bacca have helped, but by having suspect performers plying their trade amongst those few quality players, the end product is poor. I mean, for crying out loud,  we spent 30 million euros on Carlos Bacca and he’s received little service the entire year. (It’s a miracle he’s actually managed to score 14 goals in Serie A with this midfield.) I applaud the efforts of Galliani and Berlusconi this past summer to clean house on several overpaid and poor players, but there is much work to be done. They need to buy winning players with a winning mentality, not players who whine and don’t understand what it means to wear this shirt.

The fact is I can go on all day ( or all week) on how poorly this club is being managed but I rather save my breath. Fans like myself pour our hearts into this club, week in and week out, only to feel betrayed and disrespected. Many, like myself, are tired of the club force feeding us the successes of the past as way to drive towards the future. We want change. We want our club to respect the managers and let them do their job without having to be constantly hovered over like a hawk. Until the men – and woman – at the top alter their mindset or free themselves of making  major decisions, things will not change.

The untimely sacking of Siniša Mihajlović has brought Milanisti to an all-time low, and with no sign of improvement.

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