One of world football’s most illustrious teams in one of its largest stadiums; we pay the San Siro a visit to see its red-and-black tenant, AC Milan.
There is no disputing AC Milan’s place at the top table of world football, but on my visit – on a wet, winter Sunday against mid-table Udinese – the stadium was less than half-full and the atmosphere muted.
The Rossoneri (Red-and-Blacks) have a trophy cabinet filled with blinding silverware: 18 national titles, seven times European champions (most recently in 2007), a shared-record three Intercontinental titles, five Coppa Italia, twice Uefa Cup-winners Cup winners. [Continues…]
Yet in 2015 attendances at the 80,000-capacity Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) averaged just 36,661, down 8.1% on the previous season. Fellow tenants Internazionale only averaged 1,000 more spectators per match during the same year.
Visiting the Giuseppe Meazza was a major absence on my CV, the last of the great stadiums, having done the Maracanã, Bernabeu, Nou Camp, Centenario, Olimpico, Old Trafford, Wembley etc. but to see so many empty seats – with a handful of ultra flags – was a massive let-down.
This is desperately sad for someone who grow up in the 1980s and ‘90s, when AC Milan were the best team in the world. The Dutch masters of Gullit, Rijkaard and Van Basten added flair to the solid defence provided by Baresi, Maldini and Costacurta.
Fast-forward to 2015-16 season and the club’s biggest name is Mario Balotelli. A bitty game ended 1-1. [Continues…]
Like many European football teams, it was expat British engineers that formed the Milan Cricket and Football Club, now Associazione Calcio Milan. Englishmen Herbert Kilpin and Alfred Edwards from Nottingham founded the club in 1899. The English version of ‘Milan’ – rather than ‘Milano’ – has stuck, except during Mussolini’s rule, when Italian clubs with English names, such as Genoa CFC, were forced to revert to Italian. [Continues…]
How to visit the San Siro
I paid €39 for a halfway line ticket in the middle tier for my visit. I bought the ticket from AC Milan’s online ticket office and used the print-at-home option. Remember to take ID with you to the ground in Italy to prove you are the same as the name on the ticket.
Personally, I think €25-30 is a little more realistic and would probably improve attendances.
Aim for the Stadio San Siro stop at the end of Linea 5 on the Metropolitana (subway). It’s an unattractive stroll across a concrete wasteland to get to the stadium, but there are plenty of eating opportunities and lots of merchandise on offer outside the ground.
Having spoken to veterans of football travel to Milan have said that the best time to visit the Giuseppe Meazza is on a European night or – if you can get tickets – the Milan derby, of course.