Fan article by Ayodaygee.
During the 1986/87 season, Silvio Berlusconi watched Parma defeat his newly acquired Milan side by a 1-0 margin twice in the Coppa Italia (group stage and knock-out round). This Parma team was coached by the now popular Arrigo Sacchi.
A man with no prior playing experience but doing the best he could with a team like Parma. Berlusconi went ahead and hired him for the 1987/88 season as Milan’s coach. It was a choice that was tough as Milan’s start to the 1987/88 season was as shaky as ever.
Milan lost to Espanyol in the UEFA cup and were kicked out of the Coppa Italia. Four years on and many trophies later, Berlusconi’s choice to appoint Arrigo Sacchi and stick by him was genius. Today, we have watched many great sides play football; Rinus Michels’ great side of Total Football, Johan Cryuff’s popular Barcelona side, Guardiola’s side that built their successes on possession and so on. However, one man’s team lives on and that team is Arrigo Sacchi’s great Milan side.
As usual, he fell out with Berlusconi. He was replaced by a rookie, Fabio Capello. He was appointed with no real prior coaching experience besides a great record with the youth side. Capello was taking the job for only the second time. He previously guided Milan in the season prior to Sacchi’s arrival for the last five games. The media was out to crucify Berlusconi and Galliani again.
Everyone expected Sacchi’s successor to be a coach with some pedigree. Capello had no special records when he temporarily assumed the post many years back, so why would he be Berlusconi’s choice? But he kept faith with his instincts and stuck with Capello. A tremendous five years with numerous trophies proved that Berlusconi’s choice was a master-class again. Capello was not only successful but he ruled the world. By sticking to improving on the works of Sacchi, he was able to build a side that reached the CL final on 3 occasions in the early 90s. Milan were simply spectacular.
All great relationships come to an end and sometimes both parties might wish to re-live such fantasies. Milan chose the latter. They re-appointed Sacchi and Capello to revive a team that had slumped. Both Coaches tried but their efforts were futile. Both parties had to part ways. Yes, there were victories by subsequent Coaches. Zaccheroni, also a surprising choice, won the Scudetto in his first season. But not until Milan gave Carlo Ancelotti a chance, did they become a force in Europe again. Now I am confused. Sacchi and Capello had failed attempts at success just a few years after they had conquered the world. Had they suddenly lost it? What really happened?
The answer lies in the genius that is Berlusconi or may be Galliani. Milan’s most successful coaches in the Berlusconi era have all been relatively unknown. They have always had the passion and the talent. But they have also had one major component, a great team.
This, Berlusconi and Galliani always made available. Every single unpopular coaching choice always had popular players has ingredients to work with. Sacchi had his from 87-91, Capello from 91-95 and Ancelotti had a great squad assembled for him in 2001. We all know the great players each of these Coaches worked with while at Milan. Unfortunately, Sacchi and Capello’s come back seasons, Milan had a very weak squad. Fast forward 10 – 12 years, Berlusconi and Galliani seem to have forgotten this important aspect, ‘get the coaches the right components to work with.’
Yes! They have gotten this aspect wrong so many times. Management is not an easy task. I strongly believe the passion is still there. I know Berlusconi and Galliani bleed Milan. I don’t think any of us have a right to insult these great men. We all forget how often they got it right.
They are only human and so are you. Are you in anyway better at your daily work? Berlusconi and Galliani should only have one thing in their upper most mind, ‘assemble the right component and make sure they are the best money can buy.’ Yes, Milan is broke. Set us up on a five year plan. Get us a Stadium and I believe step by step we will get back to being the best.
Don’t worry, we will wait patiently only if we see us moving step by step towards the Milan we all know rather than plummeting down like we are now.
Someone please stop us!