Parma Calcio 1913 | Football’s Forgotten Ones
Juventus, AC Milan, Inter, Roma, and Napoli. These clubs are commonly known as Italy’s footballing giants of the modern era. But it wasn’t always that way. A small team formed in 1913, who wobbled up and down the Italian football pyramid with most of their time in the now-titled Serie C and Serie B, were among the Elite. That team hail from the City of Parma.
Parma Calcio 1913 in its Glory
It wasn’t until 1990 where Parma found the greener grass of reaching the highest tier in Italy – the Serie A. They kick off their season with a 2-1 defeat at home to Juventus. Two weeks later, they defeat the late Diego Maradona’s Napoli side 1-0. Parma finished 6th in their first Serie A season. Qualifying for the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) from their 1990-91 campaign, Parma looked to show the world what they could do. Now with further financial backing from Parmalat, who up their ownership stake in the team. Unfortunately, the first UEFA Cup journey falls short in the first round against CSKA Sofia.
Crashing out of the UEFA Cup, however, did not stop the team from proving their worth. While finishing 6th yet again in the league, Parma prevailed against Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. They have given the team its first domestic trophy at the highest level. Winning this cup allows Parma to enter the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, where teams from Europe qualify by winning a domestic cup.
The 1992-93 season is, in many regards, Parma’s defining season. They had Italian icon Gianfranco Zola sign for the club, finishing 3rd in Serie A. Additionally, Winning the Cup Winners’ Cup against Royal Antwerp 3-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium increased their profile, and qualified for the UEFA European Super Cup. The following season Parma defeat AC Milan 2-1 to win the ESC but heartbreakingly fall to Arsenal in the final of the CWC, losing 1-0.
Parma went on to win a further five more major titles, with notable personnel. Juan Sebastián Verón, Hristo Stoichkov, Dino Baggio, Hernán Crespo, Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Hidetoshi Nakata and Carlo Ancelotti. (Ancelotti served as a player between 1975-1979. Manager between 1996-1998)
Since 2001, Parma has experienced financial troubles. They were forced to sell all of their top assets to survive, thus beginning the downfall of Parma’s elite status.
After filing for bankruptcy in 2015, the club was demoted to Serie D.
Parma currently sits 19th in Serie A, as of April 2021.