Parma Football Club (formerly Parma Associazione Calcio) is an Italian football club based in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, team that will play in Serie B in 2008/2009. The club plays its home matches in the 27,906 seat Stadio Ennio Tardini. Nicknames include Ducali (The Duchy Men), Crociati (Crusaders) and Gialloblu (Yellow-Blues).
Parma debuted in Serie A in 1990 and would quickly establish themselves as a top-flight team in Italian football from then on. The team became one of the top Italian teams in the 1990s and early 2000s, especially in the domestic and European Cup competitions, having been crowned UEFA Cup champions. Following the Parmalat scandal in late 2003, which caused the owning company to collapse, Parma has lately experienced a troubled period, having been under controlled administration until January 2007 and forced to fight to avoid relegation.
Parma began playing league football during the 1919-20 season, in their first season they ended up second in the qualifying matches for the Emilian Championship. They achieved their first promotion from their regional league during the 1924-25 season, moving them from the second to the first division. A few short seasons later during 1928-29, they won the first division and were promoted, becoming founding members of Serie B.
After a long decade of trying to gain promotion back into Serie B, they achieved it in the 1941-42 season. Italian football was postponed due to World War II but after it was continued Parma played another three seasons in Serie B before being relegated once more in 1948-49. Then, they spent another five seasons in Serie C where they ended up in second place on two occasions before gaining promotion once again in 1953-54.
Following this promotion one of the most successful periods in the club's history began; in 1954-55 they ended up ninth (a record for the club at the time). A notable star during this period was Ivo Cocconi who broke the club's appearance record, playing 308 times. Parma made their debut on the European stage during the 1960-61 season, defeating Swiss side Bellinzona in the Coppa delle Alpi. The club's form dropped however, and they were once again relegated to Serie C in the 1964-65 season finishing last.
The club crept back into professional football, with promotion back to Serie B during the 1972-73 season, spending three solid seasons in the league finishing as high as 5th (which set a new club record). However, relegation soon returned to the club and they stayed in Serie C until their eventual promotion under Cesare Maldini in 1978-79. They beat Triestina in a play-off match, thanks to two goals from a young Carlo Ancelotti.
However, they only lasted a season in Serie B and began the 1980s back down in Serie C. They came back up as champions in 1984 but were once again relegated, yo-yoing between the leagues. They returned to B under Arrigo Sacchi for the 1986-87 season and remained there for the rest of the 1980s. After making an impression at Parma, Sacchi was scouted by A.C. Milan president Silvio Berlusconi, who brought him to become the new rossoneri coach.
The promotion attracted many foreign talents to the club; this achievement was paid for by the multinational dairy concern Parmalat controlled by the Tanzi family, who had become the club's new sponsor in addition to buying a 45% stake. A new era for Parma had begun, described by fans as the club's "Golden Period".
Parma ended ther first ever season in Serie A in sixth place, which meant they qualified for the UEFA Cup. However, the 1991-92 season saw Parma exit from the UEFA Cup to CSKA Sofia. Domestically the club was having more success, securing the Italian Cup with a 2-0 victory against Juventus. An Italian player at the club, Alberto Di Chiara, was called up to the national side.
Their first international throphy was won in 1992-93, Parma won the Cup Winners' Cup, beating Royal Antwerp 3-1 at Wembley in England on May 12 1993. The following season, the club were successful in the European Super Cup; winning an all Italian final 2-0 over A.C. Milan. The same season however, they lost the Cup Winners' Cup, 1-0 in the final against Arsenal. The 1994–1995 season saw perhaps their greatest achievement to date, when they beat Italian rivals Juventus in the UEFA Cup Final.
Success in cup football and high league finishes in the early 1990s attracted other stars, with the likes of Tomas Brolin, Hristo Stoichkov, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianfranco Zola, Faustino Asprilla, Dino Baggio, Hernán Crespo, Enrico Chiesa, and Diego Fuser joining. Scala jumped ship in 1996 and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti. He took the club to its best ever league finish in 1997, second place and only one point behind the champions Juventus.
They were unable to put their form into effect within the Champions League however, they also only followed up their league position with a 6th place. Under Alberto Malesani in 1998/99 the team won the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina. He also took the club to their second UEFA Cup final victory, this time they beat Olympique de Marseille 3-0, with goals from Crespo, Vanoli and Chiesa.
Arrigo Sacchi returned to the club as manager in January 2001, but the former Italy coach soon stepped down due to ill-health. Renzo Ulivieri took over and took the side to fourth in the league once more and another Champions League qualification although they lost the Coppa Italia finals to Fiorentina. Another manager change came for the 2001-02 season as Pietro Carmignani took Parma to another Coppa Italia triumph. They beat Juventus, 1-0 at home before losing 2-1 in Turin; they won the trophy via the away goals rule, this was Parma's third time winning the Italian Cup.
Following Parmalat's financial scandal in 2003-04, the team announced it was to be bought in 2005 by former Real Madrid chairman Lorenzo Sanz, and was reincorporated at that time as Parma Football Club. However, successively Sanz renounced to conclude the bid. Despite all their troubles, Parma FC played a fairly good season, led by team stars such as Marco Marchionni, Domenico Morfeo and Mark Bresciano, and managed by head coach Mario Beretta, being able to avoid relegation in advance of four matches to the end of the championship. Beretta left Parma after the end of the season, and Stefano Pioli, from Modena F.C., was appointed as his replacement.
On January 24, 2007, Tommaso Ghirardi was announced as new owner of Parma FC, following a public auction sale. Ghirardi, a 31-year-old entrepreneur and owner of Serie C2 club Carpenedolo, became also chairman of Parma FC, ending three years of state-controlled management. On February 12, second-last placed Parma fired head coach Pioli and replaced him with Claudio Ranieri who, against overwhelming odds, managed to avoid relegation to Serie B on the final day of the season.
In the 2007–08 season, Parma again battled with relegation, presenting three different head coaches (Domenico Di Carlo, Héctor Cúper and caretaker Andrea Manzo) during the whole season, but were ultimately unable to preserve their Serie A status, losing 2–0 at home to champions Inter Milan on the final day of the season, consigning them to Serie B football next season.
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Coppa Italia (3):
Serie C: (7)
Emilian League Division 1:
Emilian League Division 2:
From 1998 to 2004 the club wore yellow and navy blue hooped shirts. Parma were quite successful during this time (winning the UEFA Cup) and had a lot of high key players at the club, thus the shirts have become synonymous with Parma even though they have reverted back to their traditional colours recently.
The traditional colours of the city of Parma are yellow and blue.