Europe’s Forgotten Clubs:Parma FC


One of the forgotten clubs of the 1990s which was a sensation in Italian and European football is Parma.Founded in 1913,it wasn’t until the 1990s that Parma didn’t had any serious success and mostly played in the lower divisions of Italian football and it wasn’t until the 1980s that the Ducali began to make inroads in higher divisions of Italian football under Cesare Maldini when under his term as coach they made it to the Serie B,however that last for a season were relegated.In 1984 under coach Marino Perani the Ducali made a comeback to the Serie B,but again in the following season they were relegated back to the Serie C and again in 1986 this time led by legendary coach Arrigo Sacchi the club managed to climb back to the Serie B,while Sacchi left the Ducali for AC Milan where he would win numerous trophies and became one of Italy’s legendary coaches,the Ducali have stabilized in the Serie B until the arrival of Nevio Scala who took over the club’s bench in 1989 and the following season,in 1990 the Ducali achieved a historical promotion to the Serie A after a 2-0 victory in the Derby dell’Enza over Reggiana.Together with a heavy investment from Parmalat,the Ducali began the stellar rise in Italian and European football.After a surprising 6th place in their debut season in the 1990-91 Serie A season,the Ducali made a European debut in the next season where they made an early exit in the UEFA Cup where due to away goal rules where eliminated by CSKA Sofia.However after winning their first ever Coppa Italia the same season and achieving another 6th place,the Ducali went into the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.The 1992-93 season for the Ducali was one of the best where they came 3rd in the Serie A and won its first European trophy-the UEFA Cup Winners Cup after beating Royal Antwerp 3-1 in the final on Wembley Stadium.Also they won they won the European Super Cup the same season by beating AC Milan 2-1 on aggregate score,while in the next 1993-94 season the they replicated their appearance in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup final but they were beaten by a single goal against Arsenal in Copenhagen.In the 1994-95 season Parma came back both in the Serie A and in Europe when it finished 3rd in the Serie A with 63 points and winning their first UEFA Cup in the final against Juventus thanks to goals scored by Dino Baggio in both legs of the final in a squad which featured Colombian star Faustino Asprilla,Swedish striker Tomas Brolin and Gianfranco Zola who was the club’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons and who would later become a star in England by playing for Chelsea after he transfered in November of 1996.Besides with losing Zola to Chelsea the club brought Enrico Chiesa and Hernan Crespo which their partnership in the attack led the Ducali to their best ever finish in the Serie A in the 1996-97 season under coach Carlo Ancelotti where they finished in 2nd place with 63 points with only 2 points behind Juventus,also that meant a debut in the UEFA Champions League for the Ducali the following season.After they succesfully beat Widzew Lodz in two matches to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League,they were drawn in the group with Sparta Prague,Galatasaray and Borussia Dortmund where they finished 2nd with 9 points which wasn’t good enough to qualify for the next round,regardless of that the Ducali continued to be on the top of the Serie A with a squad which featured the names of Dino Baggio,Faustino Asprilla,Enrico Chiesa,Hernan Crespo,Juan Sebastian Veron,Mario Stanic,Lilian Thuram,Fabio Cannavaro and others which under coach Alberto Malesani which came as a replacement for Carlo Ancelotti reached their potential in the 1998-99 season where the Ducali won the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina which had the names of Rui Costa,Gabriel Batistuta and Francesco Toldo and their 2nd UEFA Cup in the final in Moscow against Olympique Marseille which they won 3-0 and a 2-1 victory in the Supercoppa Italiana over AC Milan.That was by far the height of Parma in Italian and European football and the 1990s were the golden era for the Ducali,however the turn of the century wouldn’t be as successful as they hoped.The UEFA Cup victory in the final in Moscow was the last of the European success for the Ducali and the thanks to a dire financial situation the club roster began to fall apart,besides the last ever trophy they won was the Coppa Italia in 2002 against Juventus which was marked by a disastrous season in the Serie A where the club finished only 10th,but the bankrupcy of Parmalat in 2004 signaled the beginning of the end for the Ducali besides they made one more run into the UEFA Cup in the 2004.05 season where they made it to the semifinal of the competition where they were beaten by CSKA Moscow,while in the Serie A they fended off relegation by beating Bologna in the relegation playoffs 2-1 on aggregate score.The last of the Ducali in Europe was in the 2006-07 season where after they passed the group stage of the UEFA Cup they were defeated by Braga in the round of 32 of the competition,that was their last match in European competitions to date.In the following 2007-08 season the Ducali were relegated from the Serie A for the first time in 18 years and besides a quick return to the Serie A in in 2009,the Ducali couldn’t come back to the days of glory and after another bankrupcy in March 2015,the Ducali were relegated to the Serie D which is the fourth tier of Italian football.Curretly Parma is playing in the Lega Pro which is the former Serie C and again the Ducali have found themselves in the same place where they started their road to glory which was more than 30 years ago.Parma is truly the phenomenon club of the 1990s and its success both in Italy and in Europe isn’t forgotten.


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