By ERIC GIACOMETTI
When AC Milan travel to New York City to take on Greek champions Olympiakos at Citi Field, they will do so without the support of 300 of their most fervent local supporters.
In an interview with EOS, AC Milan Club NY/NJ founder and president Giancarlo Rosselli revealed that the supporters group will be boycotting the July 24th fixture in Queens in light of the recent sacking of manager and club legend Clarence Seedorf.
“We are boycotting because we are upset with how the management has treated Seedorf in this situation,” Rosselli stated. “We feel that an AC Milan legend deserves better and should not be treated like a stranger.”
After finishing the 2013-14 Serie A campaign in eighth place, Seedorf’s contract was terminated as former teammate and fellow club legend Filippo Inzaghi was promoted from his position of youth manager to club boss.
While not necessarily a surprise, Seedorf’s dismissal has spurred conversation and controversy throughout Italian soccer. For a Milan team that has failed to impress in recent years, fans of the club are worried about the direction that of one of the traditional powerhouses of European football is heading.
According to Rosselli, the problems with Milan start at the top.
“The decision to hire Seedorf should have been made by both men [club owner Silvio Berlusconi and CEO Adriano Galliani] together,” Rosselli asserts. “Instead, Berlusconi went over Galliani’s head and brings in Seedorf. This instantly puts him in a very bad situation.”
Upon his introduction as manager on January 16th, Seedorf guided an underwhelming Milan side to a respectable 11 league wins during his 19 games in charge, ultimately finishing just one point adrift from Europa League qualification.
“He did extremely well with what he was given,” Rosselli stated. “Personnel wise, the team is mediocre and they showed it on the pitch. The fact they did so well under Seedorf should have been praised. Instead, Galliani did everything he could to sabotage his reign and turned Berlusconi against him as well.”
Despite their displeasure with the club’s decision to terminate Seedorf’s contract, AC Milan Club NY/NJ stand behind their new manager, while delivering words of caution in the same breath.
“We are all in agreement. We love Seedorf and we Love Pippo. We will support Pippo as manager just like we supported Seedorf and Carlo Ancelotti, but it doesn’t mean that we are going to forget how Seedorf was treated. Pippo could face the same fate one day and that is what our point is in this.
“What’s to say that he will not be disrespected in the same manner?”