Baggio, Pirlo, Hagi and Guardiola, all names that transcend generations each uniquely different in style but similar in mesmerising ability and all names that have graced the pitch at the Stadio Rigamonti.
Sitting just outside Milan, Brescia has never been a place bestowed with true upper echelon calcio. Indeed, the Biancoazzuri have been classified more as a yo-yo club in their 106 years of existence. Despite this they remain a highly respected club in the realms of Italian football and are well cemented into its foundation.
Recent years however have not been overly kind on the Rondinelle (Little Swallows), financial troubles have seen them go from yo-yoing between Serie A and B to fighting relegation into Serie C and for their very existence. Actually, relegated on the pitch in 2014/15 the club only survived in Serie B thanks to the even more woeful finances of clubs around them.
Given the turmoil the club has gone through over the last number of seasons, a fan of the club would be forgiven for thinking that a deserved period of calm and stability is just around a corner. Rather the club may be facing into its most tumultuous period in its entire history and it is not entirely clear that they will come out standing on the other side.
At the beginning of August, the club was taken over by a new owner, but it wasn’t just some run of the mill Italian businessman who had grasped hold of the clubs’ reigns. Oh no, this new owner was none other than the famous or infamous Massimo Cellino. The 61-year-old Sardinian native is a name that resonates with all followers of the game on the peninsula. Known primarily for his ownership of his local side Cagliari and later Leeds in England, Cellino has cultivated a reputation as one of the more eccentric and ruthless owners in all calcio. A rival for Palermo’s Maurizio Zamparini in the manager eating department, Cellino has also been known to test the line between legal and questionable actions (Initially being banned from ownership of Leeds due to a tax evasion conviction back in Italy being one such action).
Not exactly a man you’d want to see romping up to your club where things were not exactly going smoothly, things were quickly made much worse with one of his first actions at the club. Usually fans would be somewhat happy to see a native of their city be handed a role in the new administration of the club but when that person Tommaso Ghirardi, well then things just can’t have a happy ending.
For those of you with short memories, 42-year-old Ghirardi is the man who as owner of Parma Fc racked up a debt of over €200 million, sold it onto some very fishy Albanian lads for €1 and promptly skedaddled off into hiding. Despised in the Emilian city, Ghirardi would likely be lynched if he ever came within a mile of the Stadio Tardini again.
The fact that a man of his calibre is allowed back near a football club is a stain on the Italian game. In the eyes of many he is seen as nothing more than a criminal who took down one of the most storied names in calcio.
So now not only is the loose cannon that is Massimo Cellino running the football club, he is being aided by a man who is more than happy to supply the gunpowder.
Ever since Parma’s bankruptcy and subsequent rebirth, the Ultras behind the goal in the Curva Nord Matteo Bagnaresi have with vitriol have called out this chant
“Ghirardi (x3), La Senti Questa Voce (x3), Vaffanculo (x3)”
“Ghirardi, Are you Listening, F*** OFF!!!
For this season alone maybe the Parma fans should amend the chant to something more along the lines of “Brescia, Are you listening, tell him to f*** OFF.