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· Premium Member
9,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thursday 13 March, 2008
Blog: Cross to bear

Parma are fighting for their Serie A lives. James Horncastle explains why he'd find relegation hard to swallow
It isn’t just the ham and cheese that make English people think fondly of Parma. Italy’s gastronomic city par excellence has been serving us treats on the football pitch for the last 18 years, some bitter, and some sweet.

The Gialloblu’s current position is hard to swallow. Coach Mimmo Di Carlo was sacked on Monday after Parma fell to their 12th defeat of the campaign, and his replacement, Hector Cuper, has 11 fixtures to keep the Crociati in Serie A. The team haven’t won away all season and are yet to travel to Juventus and Fiorentina, while Inter await them at the Ennio Tardini on the final day of the campaign.

Parma’s fall from grace has been as fast and perilous as one of those Gloucestershire cheese-rolling competitions. The club that, having never been in the First Division, won eight titles in 14 years under the patronage of the Tanzi dynasty between 1990 and 2004 has been in financial meltdown over the past three seasons.

The Tanzi’s owned Parmalat, the dairy giant whose name was emblazoned across the Gialloblu’s shirt. In December 2003 the company nearly disappeared after a £12bn hole was found in its accounts. The cash-cow that provided the milk which allowed Parma to compete with Italy’s top clubs dried up. Calisto Tanzi was jailed for fraud and money-laundering in the biggest corporate scandal Europe has even seen. The little Emilian town’s people were no longer talking about parmesan cheese but parmesan sleaze.

In 2003-04 Serie A had a new derby – il derby dei bancorottieri – between Lazio, who were in similar financial dire straits, and Parma. The romance was over. The provincial side that out of nowhere became part of the grandiose ‘Seven Sisters’, winning a European Cup-Winners Cup, two UEFA Cups, a European and Italian Super Cup as well as three Coppa Italias, was back to being a small rural club no bigger than relegation rivals Siena and Empoli.

Put this into perspective – a team from a city the size of Walsall came within two points of winning the Scudetto in the 1996-97 season.

While Parma is a pale shadow of its former-self our memories of their golden period remain intact. Who can forget Tino Asprilla’s goal against Milan in 1993 which ended the legendary Rossoneri’s 58-match unbeaten run?

The Gialloblu brought to our attention the talents of Gianfranco Zola and several World Cup winners from Fabio Cannavaro and Gigi Buffon to Lilian Thuram and Claudio Taffarel. Forwards like Adrian Mutu, Hernan Crespo, Adriano and Alberto Gilardino all, incredibly, enjoyed formative experiences with the Crociati.

Call it cheesy, call it sentimental, but I sincerely hope Parma can escape the drop, like they did last season and in 2004. Otherwise, I fear we will not see them at this level again for a long time.

· Administrator
54,358 Posts
Interesting article, but I don't understand the title 'cross to bear'?
Didnt you notice this Journalists is fond of puns and wordplays in this article? Using references like that all over the place. Cross to bear is prolly just referring to your crociata (and you have a path to cross with a heavy burden, typical wordplay), nothing less.

But a good article nontheless. If you were to relegate, I wonder how serious the michellin man would be about Parma, and how long he would stick around.

· Premium Member
9,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmmm i'm liking this channel 4 blog, some good articles. Another goodun' today:

Tuesday 18 March, 2008
Blog: 99 Problems

Cristiano Lucarelli was an outside chance to make Euro 2008 while he was at Shakhtar Donetsk, Steve Wilson wonders where it all went wrong
October 2007 - Cristiano Lucarelli had it all. The 32-year-old striker had just bagged a brace for Italy against South Africa and had already netted on his Champions League debut against Celtic, as Shakhtar Donetsk picked up two wins from two games in Group D. He was finally cutting it at the top level in Europe and was looking a good outside bet to go to Euro 2008.

March 2008 - Just five months later and the same man is struggling to find Serie A goals for the first time since his 2001-02 top flight campaign at Torino. Within a month of arriving at Parma he was hinting that he wouldn't say no to rejoining the Granata and even his loyal Livorno faithful turned on him at the weekend. What on earth has gone wrong?

The politicised protagonist departed for Ukraine at the end of the 2006-07 campaign, with European football his main target. The £6m departure angered and upset the followers of his hometown club, but at his age you cannot question his personal reasons for wanting one last challenge - a lucrative £2.8m-a-season one at that.

However, his exit after just six months of a three-year deal - following the club's European elimination and just six goals in 13 appearances - seemed to be an admission of failure. Sure, the weather isn't great and Donetsk is no Milan or Rome, but after waiting so long to be given a chance to swim out of his little pond, why did this big fish apparently flounder at the first sign of choppy waters?

His £4m return to Italy with Parma seemed likely to be the catalyst for him to ripple the net with regularity, as he had at the Armando Picchi where he struck 82 goals in four seasons. Yet the Ducali are still waiting to see the ruthless edge he had when he left the peninsula. Meanwhile, his commitment was called into question when on the eve of the Week 24 clash with Toro he even confessed that a switch to Turin would interest him - just over a month after arriving at Parma!

Perhaps he is disappointed that he hasn't got his trademark No 99 shirt - that is owned by veteran Gialloblu 'keeper Nicola Pavarini - or maybe the malaise of life in the Eastern bloc has followed him back home. Whatever problem is preventing him from replicating the form we have become used to, he needs to solve it before his outside chance of sneaking in to Roberto Donadoni's European Championship plans vanishes forever.

· Missing Guidolin.
21,158 Posts
:googly: Didn't he say something like he'd like to play for Torino before he ends his career?
That's not exactly the same as "I want to leave".

I wouldn't refuse selling Lucarelli though, without our wingers supplying enough crosses he becomes almost worthless for us.
Budan is more important to our formation.
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