Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo, known around the world as just Palermo, have one of the more interesting stories in modern club football. In most cases, fascinating teams in sports tend to have a winning history. This, however, is the case for the Sicilian-based club.
Palermo have never finished atop of the Serie A standings, nor have they ever collected a significant trophy in their 119 years of existence (outside of five Serie B titles). Unfortunately for fans of the Pink and Blacks, the compelling story of the club in recent years has mostly surrounded their ownership, rather than on-field success.
When Maurizio Zamparini bought Palermo in 2002, the club had not played in the Italian top flight for 30 years. The Italian businessman’s early reign with the team seemed to be headed in a positive direction. After all, Palermo went from the second tier in Italy to Europa League qualification (for the first time in the club’s history) after just three seasons with Zamparini calling the shots.
Despite this relative success early on with the Sicilian club, most of Zamparini’s legacy at Palermo will undoubtedly be his restless relationships with managers. In fact, since the businessman bought the club in 2002, Palermo have changed managers 45 times. Although, it must be said that there have not necessarily been 45 different managers during this time frame, as some gaffers coached the club for more than one stint.
While there have been a merry-go-round of managers at the club in recent years, Palermo have made some outstanding player purchases. In fact, few ‘small’ clubs in Europe have obtained more major talent in the last decade or so as the Pink and Blacks. Future stars such as Javier Pastore, Edinson Cavani, Andrea Belotti, Paulo Dybala, Abel Hernandez, Simon Kjaer, and Franco Vazquez have all featured for Palermo. The septet eventually made the club a massive amount of money.
*Includes a €5 million loan fee for 2010/11 season
Zamparini’s ownership in the club came to an end nearly five months ago, as the 77-year-old Italian reluctantly sold Palermo to English investors. The interesting part of the sale was the fact that this London-based company bought the club for a “symbolic” fee of €10. No, not €10 million, just €10. There was, however, one significant catch: the investors must also take on a huge debt reportedly in the €20 million range.
Claims that these investors would be turning around the club’s woeful financial situation would not exactly pan out. The ‘takeover’ only lasted about two months and Daniela De Angeli, an associate of Zamparini, essentially bought Palermo in February. In yet another turn of events, news broke on Wednesday that Palermo was shockingly sold yet again. The Arkus Network, an Italian business, essentially becomes the third new owner of the club in less than six months.
With Zamparini gone, many would assume that the managerial situation at the club will calm down a bit. This would not be the case. New club chairman Rino Foschi sacked the team’s manager Roberto Stellone Tuesday morning after just seven months at the helm. Palermo U19 coach, Giuseppe Scurto, was subsequently named as the temporary coach of the first team (the club’s third head coach this season). This would, however, be a short-lived experience for Scurto, as it was announced on Wednesday that Delio Rossi would be the next manager at Palermo.
The Sicilian club is in third place of the Serie B standings at the moment. With four matches remaining on the schedule, Palermo are in position to qualify for the playoffs to be promoted back to Serie A for the first time since the 2016/17 campaign.