Tino Asprilla has seen his old club Parma go bankrupt and face demotion to the fourth division in Italy.
The United cult hero arrived at St James Park from Parma for £6.7m halfway through the oh so close 1995/96 season, Tino stepping off the plane in the snow before almost instantly coming off the bench to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough.
Parma gave £6m of the fee back to Newcastle when they bought him once again in January 1998.
Before Parma’s eventual descent into the situation they now find themselves in, Tino Asprilla helped the then Serie A side pick up the UEFA Cup in 1999 before the striker almost instantly departed. Tino played only the last handful of minutes as a sub for man of the match Crespo, with Parma having a top quality line-up that also included Buffon, Veron, Cannavaro and Thuram.
Those days will seem a long way off now for Parma fans, as their story pretty much mirrors that of Rangers.
After failing to find a buyer Parma are set to start next season in the fourth tier of Italian football as an amateur club.
To register for Serie B, they had to clear their ‘sporting debt’ of 22.6m euros (just over £16m), this was the money owed to staff and players.
This was only part of Parma’s overall debts a of around 75m euros (approx £54m).
The club were relegated last season from Serie A but could have then rebuilt from Serie B if somebody had financed the paying off of that £16m to the club staff.
As with Rangers, you would imagine Parma with the help of their fans are likely to put together a team that can get through the next couple of seasons on the pitch, though it is hard to see them ever regaining their glory days.
Always sad to see football fans lose their club but hopefully starting from basics will prove to be an adventure for those who care about Tino Asprilla’s old club.
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