Supporters love to complain about their team, their players, the owners or whatever it is that is going wrong with the club that they support. In fact some of us probably know someone like my friend Joe. Joe is a supporter of teams that just never win. He complains so much that I am convinced he would be upset if his teams suddenly became winners. Then he’d have nothing to complain about.
For those fans that are never happy, there’s a new club for you to support. Pro Piacenza The team plays in Italy’s third tier professional league Serie C.
Things were already bad for Pro Piacenza even before they took the pitch this past weekend. The club’s president Maurizio Pannella has been banned for six months for “financial irregularities”
Then came the teams match at Cuneo. To say that Pro Piacenza lost would be an understatement. The final score of 20-0 would be the equivalent of losing a Major League Baseball game 60-0 or an NFL game 144-0. It was shocking. Part of the reason they were ripped to shreds is the fact that Pro Piacenza only had seven players for the entire match. The club now faces the possibility of being tossed out of the league.
Former player Dario Polverini walked out on the club in January to join fellow Serie C team Virtus Verona. He explained Pro Piacenza’s current situation.
A really strong squad was built in July and we went into our preseason training camp with high hopes. At the end of August, the sporting director was fired because the president wanted to raise the bar and aim for [promotion to] Serie B.
Ten new players arrived in the final days of the transfer window and we had a squad of 33 and a really high budget for this level. We won three and drew two of our first five games and were top of the league, then when the first deadline arrived on Oct. 15, the owners didn't pay the wages.
In fact, in November our wages for August arrived, albeit without the [social security and tax] contributions, so it was practically cut in half. At the deadline in December, the payments didn't arrive, despite reassurances from the president, and the situation deteriorated.
In the meantime, rumors started doing the rounds in the city and the owners of our apartments told us that if we didn't pay [the rent], we would have to leave. A lot of us were forced to do this, even players with families and children.
The club tried to put some up in hotel rooms, but you can't live your life out of a suitcase in the boot of your car, being moved from one place to another. We decided to go on strike to put the president's back to the wall, but he doesn't care. We skipped one, two and then three games, and then there was the winter break.
Nothing had changed when we came back and almost all of us decided to leave. It was surreal talking to Pannella. For him, the problems didn't exist, not even when faced with the evidence.
So there you have it. The next time you’re annoyed that your team threw away a lead, one of your players is red carded or your owner brings in no new players during the transfer window; realize that things could be worse. As bad as it gets, it can never reach the levels of bad that is Pro Piacenza!