“Up and down like a Swiss clock” – the preminotry words of Giuseppe Airoldi; one of Palermo’s distinguished founding members. Ever since 1900, the year they were created, their fortunes have been just that.
Fascinating, yet unpredictable. Exciting, yet tumultuous. Whenever stability makes a welcomed appearance, there is always something that threatens to or does occur, to derail the much wanted and highly needed serenity.
However, whatever happens, their passionate supporters will always display their loyalty and wear their colours with pride. Their vociferous voices will never waver. They stay strong in troubled times. Admirably, they share their highs and the lows in equal measure.
Success began to take place in 1922, as they became victorious in the Sicilian Federal Championship, to be promoted to Serie B. What is now known as the Stadio Renzo Barbera (the deceased and greatly respected chairman), was formed as the Stadio Littorio, sadly, to honour Fascism.
The name was altered again to represent Michele Marrone; a soldier who perished during the Spanish Civil War. After World War II, it was fondly known as the Stadio La Favorita, after Frederik II’s, (the Holy Roman Emperor) game preserve, up until 2002. They had four years in Serie A before being expelled in 1940, for financial issues.
The period from 1948 until 1953 saw the club have healthy longevity, accumulating a six year year stay in the top flight before flitting between A and B on a regular basis. Coppa Italia heartache heavily permeates the club, especially during the 1973/74 and the 1978/79 seasons.
Once again they were banned from the IFF, in 1986, for monetary reasons and had to start again from Serie C. They managed to reach Serie B in 1991 but again relegation beckoned, after a one year representation, although they won the Coppa Italia Serie C to soften the situation. After yet another promotion, they managed to stay consistent for four years before returning to Serie C for another three years.
Suddenly, the Rosanero were to be resurrected, transformed and revolutionised by an utterly extraordinary man from Friuli, in the form of Maurizio Zamparini. The staunchly entrepreneurial Italian came into football in 1987 and remarkably led Venezia to Serie A, within a few years of taking them over.
2002 was the year he worked his magic again and the Aquile were soaring once again, after 32 years away from top flight football. The Northwest of Sicily was in an ecstacy dream state and all associated took to the streets in absolutely joyous rapture.
The club’s fanatical followers have graciously witnessed the likes of Salvatore Sirigu, Simon Kjaer, Mattia Cassani, Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore, elegantly crown the field of play, since he purchased the team, although it hasn’t all been Panella and Cannoli – Just ask Gennarro Gattuso.
Not long before/since Zamparini took over, there has been an incredible 32 managerial departures. He alone has sacked a bewildering 43 managers in total, since being part of the game and whilst he is deemed as a hero, he is also viewed as a footballl tyrant, in exact quantity. It’s not hard to see why.
After 9 heady years, the Pink and Black (“sweet and sad”) side were yet again relegated but being the yo-yo impersonators, they are on the brink of promotion again, having gone an amazing 17 games unbeaten, to be top of the pile, needing only a single point to clinch their desires of returning to Serie A.
Suit and baseball cap wearing Guiseppe Iachini is proving his vast worth again, having the sterling distinction of getting three previous teams promoted, in Brescia, Chievo and Sampdoria. He has infused an impressive blend of determination and style, into a team glowing with a secure range of youth and experience, including the ilk of Francesco Bolzoni, Stefano Sorrentino, Édgar Barettto, Andrea Belotti and Abel Hernández.
After an arduously fought season, they can almost taste a brighter future with his fine ambition, whilst bitter rivals Catania (how they wish Diego Simeone was still in charge) look set to be relegated, perfectly illuminating the ever changing fortunes of football.