Parma, we barely knew you. There are only so many hours in a weekend and it was difficult for us to justify spending two of them watching the worst team in a crumbling, corrupt league. It’s sad to hear that you have died, or are about to. It’s even sadder to realize that this may have happened a month ago and we didn’t notice.
We heard that you were a good club. Very hard working. Upstanding and community-oriented. We’ve been told that you simply fell in with the wrong crowd and it led to hard times. This may not have been your fault, Parma. The day that the internet is swirling with as-yet unsubstantiated rumors of your demise is probably not the right time or place to bring these things up, but really, you should have known better when you decided to involve yourself in Serie A.
We don’t know if Parma is well and truly dead yet — and probably won’t until early this week — but what we do know is already depressing enough. Its Serie A match against Udinese this weekend has been postponed because the league’s bottom-feeders simply couldn’t afford to open its stadium’s doors. In fact, players and staff haven’t been paid since some time this summer.
The club and owner Giampietro Manenti — who earlier this month became the second person this calendar year to buy Parma for one euro — missed a Feb. 16 deadline to make minimum payments on the club’s debts. It’s reported that Parma’s on-hand reserves are down to about $45,000.
$45,000 is barely enough to cover the tab for a post-game dinner at a club with any real aspirations. Teams across Europe are flying first class while Parma is getting a text telling them to look outside because the team bus is being reposessed. Soccer is cruel.
“We’ve had a meeting with the president [Manenti] and what has emerged is the difficulty in bringing the money to Italy. He has reiterated that he will try to give us some guarantees in the next 24 hours.
“But our patience has a limit. We are a united group and we have given the club an ultimatum. The time is running out. We need action, not words.”
Team captain Lessandro Lucarelli made it sound like Manenti hit the team with the Kevin Hart “See, with the way my bank account is set up … I got a checking and a savings” excuse, and they weren’t buying it. I feel for them. Parma may not be dead yet, but it’s definitely on life support and looking into a Kickstarter to cover its bills.