Parma Calcio 1913 (Società Sportiva Dilettantistica) reflects the rich heritage of a long line of major football clubs that have represented our city and our region for over a century on the football pitches of Italy and Europe, from provincial countrysides to metropolitan cities.
The organization originated as Verdi Football Club, lasting just three months from July to September 1913. It was created exclusively to celebrate the centennial of the birth of composer Giuseppe Verdi, a native of Parma, but blossomed into the Parma Football Club. This new club was founded on December 16, 1913 and was represented by the crusader cross or crociata on the squad’s kits (a black cross on a white background). Over the next few decades, the club assumed a variety of different names and ownerships (Parma Associazione Sportiva, Parma Football Club, Associazione Calcio Parmense, Parma Associazione Calcio, and Parma Football Club S.p.A).
It took the court just 10 minutes to declare Parma FC bankrupt in March 2015. The quick decision ended months of torment in which the club had been docked points on several occasions; players and staff had gone without their wages; games had been postponed because they could not pay stewards; the club had been sold – twice – for €1; and, having finished sixth in Serie A the season before, they had sunk to the bottom of the league.
REGAIN THE HISTORY BACK
After bankruptcy under the previous ownership, Parma FC S.p.A became Parma Calcio 1913. This incarnation began in the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti or the National Amateur League, with the first team participating in the Serie D during the 2015-16 season.
The youth and women’s teams have also both been revived. There are six different youth squads: Juniores, Allievi, two Giovanissimi, Esordienti, and the Pulcini, as well as a women’s team that plays in Serie C,
The team’s newest initiative is to earn back the respect and honor that a team with eight national and continental trophies deserves (3 Coppa Italia, 2 UEFA cups, 1 European Super Cup, 1 Supercoppa Italiana and 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup), as well as to display the decency and the identity of the city of Parma and its fans.
Mercifully, Parma were allowed to finish the season in Serie A, with relegation to Serie B a formality. However, when the club could not find a new buyer or pay their debts – which totalled $218m, including unpaid wages of €63m – they were denied a place in Serie B and were folded for the second time in a decade. They would have to start the 2015-16 season, as Parma Calcio 1913, in Serie D.
Like Fiorentina, who went bankrupt in 2002, and Napoli, who suffered the same fate in 2004, Parma had to re-form in the lower leagues and set about returning to Serie A. A group of local entrepreneurs, called Nuovo Inizio (New Beginning), took over the club, appointing former coach Nevio Scala as president and the former player Luigi Apolloni as manager. Both men had won various domestic and European trophies in Parma’s golden era in the 1990s, which helped the club connect with their past.
The Parma Calcio 1913 communicates to be back in possession of the following property assets of the bankrupt company Parma F.C. Spa brand Parma FC, in its variations; audio-video archive (library); Internet domain http://www.fcparma.com
and Facebook accounts, Twitter, in addition to digital properties. The competitive process held today at the Institute Sales Judicial did not in fact seen other competitors, so the Trustee Bankruptcy accepted the binding offer, with for a deposit equal to 10%, presented recently by the Parma Calcio 1913, for a total price of € 250,000 plus VAT and expenses.
The crusades mesh will return then, as soon as next season, the historical shield gialloblù-crusader, a symbol of our team.
The company - even though she was returned to availability - has however chosen not to return to the designation Parma F.C .: crest on the jersey will bear the simple but meaningful written PARMA CALCIO, while the official corporate name will remain PARMA CALCIO 1913.
The fans were remarkably loyal, buying more season tickets in Serie D than they had in the club’s final season in Serie A. Not only did the fans help generate matchday revenue but they also bought shares in the club through a crowdfunding scheme. Their support on the terraces was reciprocated on the field. II Ducali won promotion to Serie C in style, going unbeaten all season and amassing the highest points total ever recorded in the league.
Escaping Serie D at the first attempt was merely the beginning for Scala. “We are enjoying the rewards of an extraordinary ride,” he said in April 2016. “Let’s enjoy the victory, as it’s the first of a process that we hope will see us as contenders again next year.”
Parma’s next promotion, to Serie B, was won the hard way. After a string of defeats early in the season, Apollini was sacked. Roberto D’Aversa, in just his second coaching job, took over and turned things around. He guided Parma to second place, enough to give them a spot in the last-16 stage of the gruelling play-offs. Parma beat Piacenza, Lucchese and Pordenone to set up a final against Alessandria in late June. With club legend Hernan Crespo in the crowd to offer support, they won 2-0 to seal promotion to Serie B.
Back-to-back promotions attracted the interest of Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang, who bought a 60% stake in the club to become Parma’s majority owner and new president. Lizhang was wise. He ensured the club kept its local feel and did not alienate fans. Nuovo Inizio held on to a 30% stake, while the supporters retained 10%. Lizhang appointed Hernan Crespo as vice president and set his sights on a third straight promotion: “Parma will rise again like a giant to take back its rightful place in Italian football. I hope we can soon celebrate Serie A with the team and the fans.”
His wish came true last weekend. Going into the final day of the regular season, Frosinone were in pole position to finish second and earn automatic promotion to Serie A. Parma needed to win at Spezia and hope Frosinone would drop points at home to Foggia. With just over an hour gone, it was on. Parma were 2-0 up and Foggia were beating Frosinone 1-0. As things stood, Roberto D’Aversa’s men were going up. But this script would offer at least one more twist.
In the space of five minutes, Frosinone scored twice to take the lead against Foggia and leapfrog Parma in the table. With the clock ticking down, it seemed as if Parma would have to settle for another tilt at the play-offs. But then, with just one minute of the season remaining, Foggia substitute Roberto Floriano scored an equaliser at Frosinone. They had left it late, but Parma had done it.
Their captain, Alessandro Lucarelli, had been the beating heart of their renaissance. He had remained a beacon of strength throughout, offering to stand by the club as far back as February 2015: “I’d be prepared to play in Serie D for Parma if it was necessary. After seven years, I feel like this shirt is mine and I’m available to play for this club at whatever level.”
True to his word, he stood by the club when they fell to Serie D, the only player to do so. In 2016, on the day they secured the first of their three straight promotions, he said: “I am experiencing some indescribable emotions today. The message that comes from Parma today is that we’re back. We hope this is just the beginning of a great journey that will take us back where we belong.”
Time has proved him right. Lucarelli, now 40, has been a commanding presence in defence, embodying the collective effort of a side that works hard for each other. He is also a man who kept a promise: that he would take the club back to Serie A. When he spoke to the TV cameras last weekend, he was overcome with emotion. “It can’t be true, it’s not possible, I can’t believe it,” he said, his voice kracking. “We have done something incredible in these past three years. Something out of this world. No one could have imagined a finale like this. I’m dying. It’s more than a dream. This promotion is a great prize for our fans who together with us never gave up. I am proud to be their captain. Now I can even retire.”
Lucarelli is due to hang up his boots this summer but many fans would like to see him make at least one last appearance for Parma in the top flight. Whatever happens, the story of his club’s incredible renaissance will be told for many years to come.