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Parma Football Club, a provincial in Europe

From the UEFA Cup to the courts, the recent story of one of the "7 sisters"

Parma Football Club, a provincial in Europe From the UEFA Cup to the courts, the recent story of one of the 7 sisters

The Via Emilia, built by Marco Emilio Lepido in 189 BC  confirmed its strategic importance. The cities born along it are examples of the efficiency Roman urban development, from Placentia to Ariminum, and above all Bononia and Parma. The city can't renounce its noble, it's an old aristocratic lady seduced from the false promises of bad boys, interested only in getting their hands on her legacy. The Toscanini's and Bertolucci's city is the one with more football tradition. In recent years, Parma football club is easily remembered as a pile of papers in some lawyer study, but its history reminds us when the club was one of the "7 sisters" when it had in the roster players like Crespo, Veron, Cannavaro, Thuram, and Buffon.

The first Parma Foot Ball Club' eleven included the Verdi Football Club players. The year was 1913 and, from that time until the '70s, the club's history is not far from any other provincial tale, which challenges between second and third Italian division without ever feeling the Serie A vibes. In 1968 the club knows what will be one of the protagonists of its recent history: the Court of Parma. This won't be the first time that a new course will represent a positive turning point in the club's history, in fact the team was bought in 1969 by the Associazione Calcio Parmense, a year later renamed Parma Associazione Calcio, which did not give up the cross on its uniforms, and started a path of consolidation of its identity, which will emerge from the province anonymity thanks to personalities such as Arrigo Sacchi and Carlo Ancelotti, joining the Serie A in 1990.

Together with 6 sisters

The '90s are not typical for newly promoted, immediately come the victories in the Italian Cup against Juventus, and a European Super Cup against Milan, confirming that the team of Zola, Asprilla and Minotti had been built by Calisto Tanzi to be protagonist Italy as well in Europe. What distinguished Parma at the end of the '90s was the fact of being an incredibly modern squad, aggressive and elegant at the same time, with players and elegant and feisty. A young Buffon as goalkeeper, Cannavaro and Thuram defending, Dino Baggio and Veron to order, Crespo and Chiesa decisive to win the UEFA Cup against Marseille, in the years in which European football was dominated by Italian teams, the "7 sisters". Parma, Inter, Juventus and Naples won 8 UEFA trophies from 1989 to 1999.

The next championships are settling, the fans' idol is the Adriano the Emperor, who together with Mutu brought Parma Calcio back to the top. In 2004, something bad happened. Parmalat, owned by Tanzi, fails, but the club was saved from the financial crack. Parma Football Club was born, a team most popular in the court than in the pitch, as indeed the Italian football at down on 2006.

The first new suitor is Tommaso Ghirardi, a Parmesan entrepreneur, who in 2007 bought a team that will relegate to Serie B under the rain and Ibrahimovic's goals, after 18 consecutive years in Serie A. Ghirardi tries to rebuild, the yellow and blue jersey was worn by many good players who become soon idols of the fans, Amauri and Cassano on all, which brought the club, in the year of the centenary, in the preliminaries of Europe League.

The picture begins to fall apart, the club is denied the UEFA license because non-complying with some IRPEF payments, and in the following season the prom parties' ball sad pages of Manenti, Pasquale Giordano and Ermir Kodra are written, Parma Football Club fails. The training center in Collecchio and the Ennio Tardini stadium are confiscated, the benches will be auctioned and bought by the fans and returned to the club, but above all the trophies, bought back with an offer of 50 thousand euros in 2015, together with historical crusader crest, obtained with 250 thousand euro by winning an auction in which it was the only contender.

Tanzi is aging at home, locked in his wife house near Parma, almost condemned to the Dante poetic justice, his time is still marked by the unit of measurement of a football game, 180 minutes of freedom per day, from 9 am to noon. 180, as the most classic European round-trip match. This is the punishment for having burned 14 billion and the money of 145 thousand savers. Former Parmalat executives got back on track quickly, but Tanzi was abandoned by all the politicians and religious to whom he had asked for help after the crack. Only to his former cellmate continues to send a basket with culatello grana and milk every Christmas. 

Tommaso Ghirardi is free, he swears innocence related to the 2014 failure, as well as Pietro Leonardi, he has the face of your fat friend who makes himself loved by everyone, including Cellino, owner of Brescia Football Club, who calls him "little brother" and would like to reintroduce him in the world of football. Last year he was often in the stands to see Brescia FC and when in the championship the Lombards faced Parma, the captain Lucarelli, personally thanked Ghirardi for the good memories, in the name of a not rancorous city.
Parma Calcio had to return to be the product of a provincial farm, and for this reason, abandoned Tanzi milk, in the Nuovo Inizio srl group, among the 7 members also appear Barilla, and Pizzarotti, now president of the club and wine industry.

From the ashes

What's left of the company and it's strong territorial identity, now it's shared by two owners who have respected the promises and history of the club. The first is the Nuovo Inizio Srl group, composed of 7 local entrepreneurs, and the other is an association of supporters who want to contribute to the renaissance of the new Parma Calcio 1913. The amateurs' seasons reflected badly on the club's history.  What keeps the great Parma still alive is the passion of the leader Lucarelli, Apolloni on the bench and Crespo, who is appointed a vice president with the new Chinese property of Jiang Lizhang in the summer of 2017.
The main feeling of the return of the Serie A is eclosed in the third t-shirt, and in the way the company presented it, "as black as the ashes of the Phoenix from which we resurrected".
Last October the "Nuovo Inizio" group has taken over 60% ownership of the company, leaving only 30% to the Chinese owners and 10% to the low-domination share. The new president Pietro Pizzarotti has enjoyed a season that had started again in a courtroom, due to some message sent by Calaiò and Ceravolo before the decisive match for the qualification in Serie A last season.

The Emilians are so wary and stubborn, methodical workers, in their nature there is the arrogance in not wanting to neglect what they have built because they know that the importance of fertile land as Emilia is in its tradition. So it was for Parma Football Club, which is playing a not exciting championship this year, the team does not excite in the field, but the fact makes it the best newly promoted, and has achieved the record of being the only Italian team to ever gained three consecutive promotions from D to A.
Not at all easy to understand the narration that Parma Football Club is following, it's difficult to read even in intentions. Experienced players but never protagonists in Serie A like Barillà, Gagliolo or Rigoni, along with young players like Bastoni and Di Marco. The purchase in summer of "old" players like Bruno Alves and Gervinho has served not to accuse the new division jump, but already in this transfer market, Parma FC must give a clearer direction to his ambitions. The stadium, typhus and economic strength are a strong base from which to start, but it needs to get out a bit 'from the scheme, not following the boring example of the other Via Emilia teams.

Unlike many other newly promoted, Parma Calcio 1913 has been pushed strongly by the press, which perhaps wanted to revive the nostalgic football of the 90s even in 2018, as if Parma were a beautiful memory, a piece of history and European credibility that is far from the contemporary Italian football.