by our very own Football Shirt Aficionado the enigmatic Stoppinho
Parma Away Shirt 2003-04
This shirt was acquired in Australia from the mother of one of their players who joined in 2004: Vince Grella, one of the Australian golden generation members ,. Back in the early 2000’s, the world game was not cool, what with the local league a joke and the A–League not yet conceived. However I couldn’t get enough of the sport. I worked with Mrs Grella, and was always hounding her for news on Vince and the club. In 2005 I received a call from her on her return from a visit to Italy, and BAM! there was a shirt for me courtesy of Vince. He has been a favourite of mine ever since.
This was manufactured by Champion, who enjoyed small success as a kit partner to some clubs in the early 2000’s but has since vanished into football obscurity. The major sponsor was Santal, which was a fruit Juice company owned by Parmalat, whose owner Calisto Tanzi, also owned the Parma Football Club. Some of the more famous players who wore this shirt included Paolo Cannavaro, Daniele Dessena, a young Alberto Gilardino and the Brazillian “Simplicio”, on top of Aussie hotshot Mark Bresciano.
It was to be a horror season as the side felt the aftermath of their owner’s conviction for financial fraud: Tanzi was found guilty of embezzling from his company Parmalat. As a result the side had to sell a lot of its star players and found itself successfully avoiding relegation to Serie B.
The shirt is a beauty and is signed by the 2004 squad. It is also the 90th Anniversary shirt of the club, celebrated by the 3D patch on the left arm. The back shows the name and squad number of Vince Grella, 33. The material, upon close inspection is heavily ventilated and is quite light in weight upon touch. It features the Santal printed logo, an embossed champion kit manufacturer logo on the front and sleeves and the famous Parma crest, also embossed. Although an away shirt, it still contains the trimmings of the club colours, yellow and blue.
Vince Grella’s famous number