Anyone nostalgic for the brilliant James Richardson helmed ‘Football Italia’ during the mid 90’s will have a soft spot for the yellow and gold of Parma.
The club that grew from modest roots, after being bankrolled through dairy company Parmalat, were not too long ago hit with the unforgiving slap of Seria D football, the result of years of debt and miss management.
Here we flashback to the clubs last honour, not only that, surely one of the greatest sides ever to lineup for a European final.
Parma 3-0 Marseille
With the 98/99 season ending in the side wrestling Seria A’s final Champions League spot away from Roma before triumphing over Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia final, it’s fair to say Parma came into the UEFA cup final brimming with confidence.
With a superbly balanced side combining the defensive steal of Lilian Thuram and Fabio Cannavaro, with the devastating attacking capabilities of Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo, It would only be a matter of time before the side would be picked apart by more financial advantaged clubs (namely Juventus and Lazio).
Marseille in contrast were still reeling from losing the Ligue 1 title by a singular point to Bordeaux, added to that a long absence list that included those banned following a brawl in the closing stages of the semi final win against Bologna.
The Italians dominated possession from kick-off, probing at Marseille’s deep-rooted back line. Of all players to gift Parma the opening they craved, it would be steady eddy France captain Laurent Blanc who’s criminally short headed back pass allowed Crespo to lop the oncoming Porato with 26 minutes played.
The French side never recovered and a Vanoli header soon followed before Enrico Chiesa confirmed the win with a stunning half-volley.
Whilst the win seemed emphatic at the time, only it retrospect can we appreciate what a truly special group of players Parma possessed.