Newcastle cult hero reveals plan to help stave off disaster at former club

Parma fans at Ennio Tardini

With Parma in deep trouble and teetering on the brink of collapse, Faustino Asprilla says he is doing what he can to help stop the bleeding.

Former Newcastle United striker Faustino Asprilla told RCN Radio that he has contacted a number of footballers in a bid to aid sinking Parma.

It was a pair of stints at the Stadio Tardini that bookended the Colombian’s tenure on Tyneside, where he became known as one of the most colourful characters in English football.

Gaining a reputation as a wild card at St James’ Park, Asprilla’s reputation for antics off the pitch arguably overshadowed his contributions in between the lines.

Asprilla would never quite hit the highs he experienced after joining Parma in 1992 during his time on English shores, though did have his moments at Newcastle.

The Colombian reserved his best for European competition, celebrating in memorable fashion after scoring against Metz in the UEFA Cup and hitting a Champions League hat-trick against Barcelona before leaving in 1998.

It was back to Parma that Asprilla went at the time, though he would fail to conjure up the magic that made him a Ducali icon during his maiden adventure in Emilia-Romagna.

More than 15 years removed from his employment at Parma, however, Asprilla maintains a soft spot for the club which made him an icon in Europe.

And matters at Parma are far from where they were in the glory days of the 1990s when Asprilla plied his trade there.

The club has been sold twice this season as players and staff haven’t been paid since last summer, with the situation becoming dire.

Physical assets have been seized by authorities and power cut off to the club’s training ground, while Parma’s last two Serie A fixtures were postponed amid a financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Parma mayor Federico Pizzarotti is locked in a running battle with club president Giampietro Manenti, telling Calciomercato the latter “is not credible”.

Asprilla previously shared his pain at the situation on Twitter, but now has gone one step further in declaring that he has taken measures to help his ailing former club.

He told RCN Radio: “It’s a shame what’s happening. I’m here, in Colombia, looking for ways to help my former club. I spoke with several players to see if there’s anything we can put up for auction.

“The crisis has occurred because of poor management at the club in recent years. The players can’t even transfer away. It’s very rare for European teams to be in a situation like this, it hardly ever happens.”

It’s unclear how things will proceed from here, as the Lega Serie A is set to enter deliberations over how to move forward and the Italian players’ union has taken an active role as well.

A bankruptcy hearing for Parma is scheduled for March 19, while Pizzarotti and union president Damiano Tommasi have said the Ducali could play Sunday’s scheduled match against Atalanta if certain conditions are met.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch