Another new chapter for Parma is underway


by Conor Dunford

Serie A welcome back Parma to the division this season, a historic and popular club who have endured a turbulent time since the turn of the century.

Financial troubles have caused this greet club to undergo three rebirths, in 1968, 2004 and as recently as 2015. The club now known as Parma Calcio 1913, referencing their founding date of December 1913.

The club enjoyed a golden era between 1992 and 2002, winning the Coppa Italia on three occasions, the UEFA Cup twice and even the European cup in 1993, beating Italian rivals AC Milan over two legs. But it was the 1998/1999 Parma side which will live long in the memory of those around at that time, winning both the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia in that season.

This famous side boasted many who are now deemed legends of the game; Gianluigi Buffon, Dino Baggio, Hernan Crespo, Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram and Juan Sebastien Veron all had famous careers. During this period, Parma were then envy of Europe, seemingly destined for greatness.

But financial troubles caught up with the Italian side, even the sales of their top players could not stop them falling into administration.

In 2004, the club was declared insolvent, and fears of another rebirth were on the horizon. Parma did just that, reforming as Parma Club Football Spa in 2004, eventually being relegated to Serie B in 2006-07.

The club returned to Serie A at the first time of asking and even as recent as 2014 finished sixth in Serie A, but just a year later the club endured another financial crisis, condemning them to yet another rebirth.

This time, S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913 was formed, in July 2015 and began life in Serie D, the lowest division in the Italian football structure. Three successive promotions followed and they now find themselves back in Serie A, where most in world football feel they truly belong.

Life in Serie A did not begin as they would have hoped, with their own Emanuele Calaio caught up in a match fixing scandal, in which Parma were given a 5-point deduction. This was eventually expunged, allowing Parma to start the season on an even keel with the rest of the division.

Parma sought to sign players who had the experience to keep them in the division without overstretching their financial power and risk reliving those dark times again. The signings of Bruno Alves, Jonothan Biabiany and Gervinho were shrewd and low risk. They are players who have the quality to improve the squad and proven at that level and have the experience to guide those new to the division through their first venture into top flight Italian football.

They currently sit in 10th place of Serie A, with a record of 4-1-5 in the league thus far.

The aim for the club this season would be solely to survive and build on that stability season after season. Parma gained their first win of this season in Gameweek 4, against Internazionale at the San Siro, with Dimarco scoring the winner, and etching his name into the long history books of this almost legendary club.

7 points separate them from the relegation places, which is less than the number separating them from the Champions League spots, but European football is not on the horizon for this Parma side just yet. With games against Frosinone and Torino just around the corner, they will be hoping to consolidate their midtable position and go into the winter break with the pressure off players and staff.

They are club rich in history, both positive and negative and a new chapter for Parma is certainly underway under the Chinese ownership of Jiang Lizhang and management of Roberto D’Aversa.

It will be a benefit to fans of football all around the world for this once great club to return to it’s former glory, and challenge for the major honours in Italy, and eventually in Europe.


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