Sunday March 8 2015
Melli: 'Shame on Ghirardi!'

Parma team manager Alessandro Melli launched a scathing attack on ex-club owners for “ruining hundreds of lives. SHAME ON YOU.”

The Ducali are on the verge of bankruptcy with a hearing planned on March 19, but many of the problems stem from the time under ex-President Tommaso Ghirardi and director general Pietro Leonardi.

Now Melli, who left as team manager, has written an open letter to those he considers to be responsible for the crisis.

“I write to you today because Parma return to doing their jobs, which is to play football on a Sunday afternoon,” wrote Melli on Facebook. “I don’t know how long it will last, but today we are alive again.

“I am writing you this letter Tommaso because for years I’ve wanted to say a few things, but unfortunately because of your position as President and my hopes you would get over the confusion in your head, I never got round to telling you the truth in person.

“You arrived at Parma as a timid lad who was passionate about football. The whole city cared for you, despite relegation, and we all respected you at the club because you saw football as passion and enjoyment.

“We accepted your mistakes because they were dictated by a lack of experience and they were honest errors. We appreciated your financial efforts to fix the situation.

“All this was true until the day you let yourself be taken over by success and power. Since that day the simple, genuine Tommaso turned into a President who kept secrets, didn’t respect his employees or fans, told half-truths or outright lies, humiliated those who just wanted the money they were owed and didn’t recompense people who worked for you.

“You both (because as I always said to him, the other 50 per cent of the responsibility is down to your general manager Leonardi), ruined the lives of hundreds of people who worked in and around Parma Calcio.

“All these people – employees, collaborators, providers – are now left struggling to keep afloat because of your egotistical behaviour.

“No attempt to make up for any of the damage you caused, no act of compassion, no public or private apology. In fact, you just behave as if it’s Rezart Taci’s fault, of the Parma petite bourgeoisie, of the football system of the UEFA licence, of Torino... SHAME ON YOU.

“You humiliated former players like Apolloni, Crespo, Lucarelli, Morrone, etc, forcing them to chase up the money they were owed for months if not years. Do you realise who these people are??? They are champions on and off the field. You’re not worth one of their ingrown toenails.

“Dear Ghirardi and Leonardi, I leave you a list of important things to remember if you should ever take over another football club.

“Number 1. You have to respect the fans, because they pay your bills and do so only for love of the club jersey, asking simply for transparency in return.

“Number 2. You have to pay wages to your employees, because they’ve been here often a lot longer than you and love their work.

“Number 3. You must pay those who provide services to the club.

“Number 4. You must pay your collaborators, because they take the name of the club around the world and help provide for its future.

“Number 5. You must pay the players and coaching staff, because they are your most luxury employees and consequently their unhappy faces get more visibility than the rest.

“Number 6. You have to respect the city, its citizens, journalists and local council, especially when it’s a place like Parma that has great history and did not deserve to be taken for a ride.

“Number 7. You must respect a club that has over a hundred years of history, full of national and international trophies, which you can only dream of in that little village you come from.

“Number 8. If you have not respected any of the above seven points, then you should at least apologise to everyone and take responsibility instead of leaving a sinking ship (in Schettino style).”

That last comment was a reference to Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship who abandoned during an accident and was found guilty of manslaughter.