“A sema a Wembley”: Congratulations Parma A.C. (by M. Salvini)

credit: Gazzetta.it

Full match video here: https://youtu.be/Y6NKnbzpWY8

We translate this article from Gazzetta.it (thanks Mai Stata Storia Facebook page for the hint) because is a must-read, in our opinion. We ask sorry if with our non professional translation is not as accurate as Mario Salvini (that we thanks so much) piece deserves.

”Watching now videos on YouTube, you think it is a pity not have heard from inside Wembley, live, the Carlo Nesti sentence: ‘For the town and for the sporty soul of Parma it came a day it will be difficult to forget’.

In fact we are here, 25 years later [this Salvini’s article was published in 2018]. A picture of that slice of yellow and blue stands and all comes back in mind. Incredulity, more than trepidation. We had to repeat ourselves, that we were there. And that that was Empire Stadium, Wembley. But, more than the rest, that we were there for Parma.

I do know that maybe it could seem sickening what I’m about to describe, so be it!, it was exactly what it happened. While we were waiting I went upstairs, in the middle of the stand. There was a group, young guys like us, together with adults. Maybe fathers and sons. They brought a cutting board and – this was curious – a big knife to cut a salame. They gave a slice to who was passing there. Another man, older, with two wedding rings on the same finger, said thanks, took a slice and said ‘Mo g’pensot? A sema a Wembley’ . Can you believe it? We are in Wembley. ‘I used to go to away games with my wife with a Vespa, in Tortona, in Lodi, in Crema. E adesa sema chi‘. And now we are here.

Here at the Winner’s Cup final . Until three years ago Parma was never been in Serie A. Those that were in the stand holding yellow and blue balloons, in their life, most probably had seen more serie C matches than serie B ones, in Tardini.

In three seasons we lived the promotions to serie A, thanks to a victory in a derby with Reggiana; then Coppa Italia, won beating Juventus in the final. It all seemed too much. Nobody ostensibly could imagine to have a bigger party that that Coppa Italia final. But we were there. I still don’t exactly know how many of us. I read 16.000, or 13.000. I don’t know. We were all there. And it was our celebration. That one, for sure, would be never back. Maybe we didn’t realize it at the moment. But nothing would ever been like in those three days: the celebration of Parma, of our sense of belonging. For someone, many, the celebration of friendship.

Because if a team like Parma goes to an European final it is not the same as for Juve, AC Milan or Inter. We were just Parmesan people, proud as children. Few things could ever unite us like those three days. When is a big Club to go in a final the group of friends splits. Maybe someone, between the finalist’s supporter, decides to go watching the match. Others stay home, many jinxing. We all left to London.

At least on one thing in our life we had no doubt about: Parma AC. And it was not a matter of supporting. It was not important how strong fans we were, how many away matches we attended, or which part of our lifes was devoted to football and Parma. What it did matter was that we all agreed. Like it happen in every little town home team. But little town home teams doesn’t go to an European cup final. And they never play in Wembley.

So, for three days, I met middle and elementary school classmates in Trafalgar Square, in Covent Garden, in a Baker Street pub. And my old coach in Harrodsburg, and in Regent Street a couple that lived in my same building, the floor above me. Then groups of lads like me, those that in town you see million times and never greet. But when you meet there, queued to enter in Equinox, seems to be like your cousins.

London saw those strange supporters distractedly, those that stand in the same bars together with Antwerp fans. All of us took many pictures with Belgian fans. Police controlled, discreetly: ‘When did you arrive? By plane? It’s the first time Parma is in a final, right? Can we look into your bags, please?’

First friends of us arrived in our King’s Cross bed and breakfast on matchday morning: ‘We passed around here’ . It was a continuum, then. Until the meeting with those who left Parma that same morning. And that would be back during the night. All in 24 hours, maybe less.

I asked to one of those friends what he remembers more than everything. And he answered: ‘the way to the stadium’. Long, straight, white. Around us many known faces. Greetings and silly encouragement with everyone. Those two towers that we saw many times in pictures or on TV that become closer and closer. More and more majestic. The feeling to enter into mythical place. It wouldn’t be the same anywhere, not in Bernabeu, nor in Parc des Princes. Wembley is the Football. Parma, us, that day was italian football.

The wait and the sensation that following three hours could be filled with everything. Anyway, with something we would never forget. But I was never scared to loose, not before, not during the match. Not when Antwerp drew. Actually, even the first goal, very beautiful even watching it many times, by Minotti, seemed so logical. The normal consequence of those two days and a half spent in London. The Severeyns draw was just a predictable hitch, arrived to make all the rest a bit more thrilling. Then Melli with a header. Don’t worry, they will never reach us. Then Cuoghi with the fists in the air. It’s over, even if still six or seven minutes lasts.

I saw many people crying. And a friend of mine climbing and waving his arms. Behind him, on the screen, the text ‘Congratulations Parma AC’. That is my image for 12nd May 1993.

Then, during the night I heard those who sang Curva Nord chants in Piccadilly Circus. We were seated in the ground. In any other night of our life, with all London still to be enjoyed, there would be so many interesting things to do. But not that night. That night we could even stand there, seated.

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