A look at Parma, 10 years on.
Welcome to the next instalment of my journey with Parma Calcio. As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, via twitter @fmfutbolmanager, or my slack channel #fmFutbolManager — if you’re not a part of the Football Manager Slack community, then you can join here!
If you’re new to the series, day one starts here!
Now, onto the update.
This will be my final Football Manager 2018 post. The next series of posts will be my preparations and lead up to taking control of my next team.
With that said, leaving Parma was one of the harder resignations I’ve had to do in Football Manager. I’d built a solid squad capable of fighting it out in all competitions. So I thought it would be interesting to see how the AI could take things forward.
Season One: Jorge Jesus
I was hardly out the door before half the playing squad followed. Jorge sanctioned the sale of €281m worth of talent, including Vicente. Remember him, the asshole who text me the moment we were eliminated from the Champions League demanding a transfer. He went to Manchester United for €52m leaving a young 19-year-old in goal.
Bringing in just €72m in replacements, it was a difficult first season, finishing runners-up in Serie A by a point to Juventus. They did win the Coppa Italia, with a 1-0 victory over the league winners. In the Champions League, it was a first-round knockout against Manchester United. Sound familiar?
Season Two: Jorge Jesus
Despite leading for most of the season, Jesus was unable to guide Parma to a league title. Narrowly missing out by just a couple of points. A penultimate game loss to Fiorentina handing Juventus their second straight title win since my departure.
Jesus spent €110 on transfers, having sold another €100m of players, bringing his total income on player sales to €381m now.
They were defeated in the first round of the Champions League again, this time going out to Barcelona. They did, however, keep up the tradition of winning the Coppa Italia, beating Atalanta 1-0
Season Three: Jorge Jesus
Finally, Serie A returns to Stadio Bulgari. 104 points achieved, very close to beating my record. Juventus finished on 88 points. Another €154m was spent, with €238m in player sales. It looks like the €154m was invested wisely.
Parma failed to get out of the group stages of the Champions League, a first since their return to the top flight. They were knocked out of the Europa League at the first round against Valencia.
They were also knocked out of the Coppa Italia first round by Bari.
Perhaps this explains their success.
Season Four: Carlos Carvalhal
Jorge Jesus retired after his fantastic title win, with Carlos Carvalhal taking the reigns. In his first season, Carvalhal continued the spending that Parma have become accustomed to, by splashing out €98m to put his own stamp on the squad. He also sanctioned €137m worth of player exits.
This might have cost him, as they finished runners-up to Juventus by three points, with Juventus going unbeaten.
Parma went out at the first round of the Champions League to Barcelona and lost the final of the Coppa Italia against Frosinone. Not good enough.
Season Five: Carlos Carvalhal
Carvahal managed to turn things around in his second season in charge, winning Serie A by 14 points, to finish on 94 in total. To do so, he spent another €114m while recouping €171m in player sales.
He made it through to the semi-final of the Champions League, losing to eventual winners Borussia Dortmund, while he also lost the final of the Coppa Italia against Juventus.
Season Six: Carlos Carvalhal
In his third season, Carvalhal won Serie A for the second season in a row. Finishing 9 points ahead of Juventus. Another €100m spent in the window and €233m recouped in player sales and the team I built slowly disappearing.
Parma exited the Champions League at the first round again, this time against PSG. In the Coppa Italia, they were defeated by Crotone in the semi-final.
Season Seven: Phillip Cocu
After his three Serie A wins in a row, Carlos Carvalhal retired from the game. Phillip Cocu took over from Carlos and kept the squad relatively unchanged. Although €100m of talent left the club, €50m was brought in.
Cocu guided Parma to a Serie A title win with just 78 points, the lowest for a long time. He got them to the quarter-final of the Champions League, losing out to Paris St. Germain, and losing against Juventus in the Coppa Italia.
Season Eight: Phillip Cocu
In a tight season, Parma were beaten to the league title by one point with Juventus getting one over their title rivals. Cocu spent just €3m in his second season, keeping almost all of the squad together.
They were unfortunately knocked out of the Champions League at the first round against Barcelona, and lost in the Coppa Italia final 3-0 against Chievo. No trophies for Cocu, but he holds onto his job.
Season Nine: Phillip Cocu
Cocu managed to bring Serie A back to Parma in his third season in charge. He spent €107m in doing so, perhaps he should have done this last season, too. He finished seven points ahead of Juventus.
He couldn’t do much in Europe, losing to Atletico Madrid in the quarter-final of the Champions League, and losing to Sassoulo in the Coppa Italia quarter-final.
Onto the last season of my roundup.
Season Ten: Phillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu ended the season unemployed. Sacked after finishing third in the league, a position that just isn’t good enough anymore for Parma. 17 points behind Juventus, I guess you could say it was probably the right decision.
Having spent just €750k it was probably no surprise that they were falling behind. To add to their failings in the league, they were also knocked out of the Champions League first round by West Brom. Yes, that’s right. Not a typo, West Bromwich Albion. They were defeated in the Coppa Italia quarter-final by Inter Milan.
This really is the end now
I’m not pleased that in ten seasons since I’ve left, Parma have still failed to win the Champions League. However, when you look at the finances of the other clubs around them and the level of competition it is understandable.
Parma are a Champions league regular and are always fighting for the league (notwithstanding the current season). They regularly fill their 54k seater stadium and are frequent involvement in Europe.
However, a complete disregard financially has left them in a fiscal mess. €87m in debt, they’re in danger of missing out on European football due to FFP. Continued spending and sky-high wages are crushing the club. They have six players on wages of over €200k p/w with one player on €300k p/w which is astronomical for a club of Parma’s level.
Whoever picks up the vacant managers position at Parma has an excellent club to take over, and hopefully, they can lead them to the promised land while bringing that expenditure under control. Our financial prudence has been for nothing if this mess is not sorted out.
It feels like a strange time to call this to an end. Maybe someday they can be saved again…
Until next time, arrivederci.