TotalFootball
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TotalFootball

AC Parma — a blast from the past

Flash of brilliance

Rapid Rise

After promotion to Serie A in 1990–91 season, and buoyed significantly by investment from its owner (dairy giant Parmalat), Parma wasted little time warming up — obtaining its first trophy (Coppa Italia) in 1992. In the decade that followed, AC Parma would win 7 domestic and continental Cups, until financial troubles at Parmalat sealed insolvency for AC Parma in 2004.

Italy

The 1990–91 season was an anomaly of sorts when Sampdoria pipped back-to-back European Champions AC Milan to the Serie A title. In hindsight, it was a fitting omen for the arrival of a new challenger who defined the 90s, just as much the 90s defined it.

Europe

The financial muscle of Parmalat brought the ability to buy top talent. Parma was now firing on all cylinders. In 1993, Parma won the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup double, beating mighty Milan in the latter.

Home of legends

Players

Parma’s UEFA Cup-winning team in 1999 balanced superstars, emerging youngsters, workhorses and long-serving players.

Coaches

The coaches who graced Parma makes for stupendous reading: Arrigo Sacchi, Carlo Ancelotti and Cesare Maldini.

Why do teams like Parma emerge?

Parma was a breath of fresh air in the Serie A. It was new, different, bold and was just trying to win whatever it could. Nike’s immortal slogan Just Do It comes to mind as a precis.

Serie A

Parma was a natural outcome of Serie A’s excellence in the 90s. It was the biggest, richest and most competitive league. No one has ever come close and perhaps no one ever will. All the biggest players were there — fitting into one club or another, and changing clubs for world record sums as Serie A clubs took high-risk gambles knowing that the returns would be even greater. Professional football was to see it’s first major acceleration and investors were naturally attracted to the emerging mega-spectacle.

Cup competitions

Another crucial factor in the emergence of clubs like Parma is (was) the Cup structure. Competitions like the Cup Winners Cup and the (smaller sized) UEFA Cup allowed upper half clubs (i.e. Top 6 but not quite Top 2) to win silverware at a continental level.

The phenomenal shooting star

1999 would be the peak for Parma. After insolvency and relegation in the following decade, Parma was “re-founded” in 2015, starting in Serie D before making its way to Serie A last season, finishing 14th.

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