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The Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo, known more simply as Palermo Calcio (in Italian) or Palermo, is an Italian football club based in Palermo. Founded in its original form on 1 November 1900, the club was excluded from Serie B on 12 July 2019.[2]

US Città di Palermo Logo.svg
Full nameUnione Sportiva Città di Palermo S.p.A.
Nickname(s)I Rosanero (The PinkBlacks)
Le Aquile (The Eagles)
Founded1900; 119 years ago (1900) (Anglo Palermitan Athletic and Football Club)
1920; 99 years ago (1920) (US Palermo)
1941; 78 years ago (1941) (US Palermo-Juventina)
1987; 32 years ago (1987) (US Palermo)
GroundStadio Renzo Barbera
OwnerArkus Network
ChairmanRoberto Bergamo
LeagueTo be determined
2018–19Serie B, 11th (relegated)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The team achieved the best sporting results in 2000s, during which it closed three editions of the Serie A championship in 5th place (including two in a row) and reached the 2005–06 UEFA Cup's round of 16. On his showcase it counts Coppa Italia Serie C won in 1992–1993.

Regarding the holdings in European cups, the club has five appearances in UEFA Cup/Europa League; in 2007 it also occupied 51st place in UEFA ranking.[3] According to the monthly ranking by the IFFHS, on the other hand, the highest ranking ever conquered was the 19th place, reached both in February[4] and June 2006;[5] according to another ranking of the same entity, the rosanero is in 121th place of the best teams in the world considering the period from 1 January 1991 to 31 December 2009.[6]

If we also consider the 3 finals of Coppa Italia played (1974, 1979 and 2011), the won 5 Serie B championships and its more than secular history with important trophies conquered in the first twenty years of the twentieth century, the Palermo is one of the most important football clubs of Southern Italy. With reference to its date of foundation, it is above all the first club of Sicily, the first in the South and the 7th in the country for seniority among the other national companies still operating.

Since 2008, Palermo also has the right to be an ordinary member of the European Club Association, an international organization that has taken the place of the abolished G-14 and composed of the main football clubs of Europe gathered in consortium in order to obtain a common protection of sports, legal and television rights in front of the FIFA.[7]



Early history (1898–1947)Edit

Ancient Palermo FBC logo
Historical first Anglo-Palermitan Athletic & Football Club line-up, 1900

There is some debate about the exact date the club was founded. Some authorities think it may have been as early as 1898 due to the existence of papers addressed to Joseph Whitaker, English consul in Palermo and originally believed to be first club president, about a Palermitan football team founded in the month of April of that year.[8] Actually, there is a probable misinterpretation of some sources: in April 1897, the future founders of Palemo Calcio founded the association Sport Club.[9] The most common and officially stated foundation date is 1 November 1900,[10] as the Anglo Palermitan Athletic and Football Club. The club is thought to have been founded by Ignazio Majo Pagano, a young Palermitan colleague of Whitaker who had discovered football while at college in London in the UK, where the modern game of football originated. The initial staff comprised three Englishmen and nine natives of Palermo,[11] with Whitaker as honorary chairman, Edward De Garston as inaugural president and with red and blue as the original team colours. The first recorded football match, played by the team on 30 December 1900, ended in a 5–0 defeat to an unidentified amateur English team. The first official match, played on 18 April 1901 against Messina Football Club, ended in a 3–2 win to the Palermitan side.[12]

In 1907, the club changed its name to Palermo Foot-Ball Club, and the team colours were changed to the current pink and black.[13] From 1908 until the final event in 1914, Palermo was featured in the Lipton Challenge Cup, organised by Scottish businessman Sir Thomas Lipton. The competition saw them face off against Naples; Palermo won the competition three times, including a 6–0 victory in 1912.[14]

After a gap during World War I, the club was refounded in 1919 as Unione Sportiva Palermo,[15] by a committee of young university students and sportsmen. During the early 1920s, the club mainly competed in the Campionato Lega Sud, a football league in Southern Italy, reaching the semi-finals in 1924 before being knocked out by Audace Taranto, Alba Roma and Internaples. The club was dissolved in 1927 due to financial problems, but was reformed one year later following a merger with Vigor Palermo under the name Palermo FootBall Club. Originally admitted to Prima Divisione (First Division), the equivalent of today's Serie C1,[16][17] the team was promoted into Serie B in 1930 and finally reached Serie A in 1932. From its debut season in Italy's top division, Palermo relocated to a new home, the Stadio Littorio (Lictorian Stadium) in the Favorita neighbourhood, today known as Stadio Renzo Barbera. The club played Serie A until 1936, when they were relegated to Serie B and first played Catania in the Sicilian derby.[18]

In 1936, Palermo was forced by the fascist regime to change its strip to yellow and red, after the official colours of the local municipality.[19] Meanwhile, economic difficulties arose, and in 1940 they were expelled by the Italian Football Federation because of financial problems.[19] A merger with Unione Sportiva Juventina Palermo brought the foundation of Unione Sportiva Palermo-Juventina, which joined Serie C in 1941 and Serie B in 1942.[20]

Palermo goalscorer, Santiago Vernazza

The club could not finish the 1942–43 season due to the arrival of WWII. At the same time the pink-and-black colors were chosen because Sicily became a "war zone". After the conflict, the club changed its name to US Palermo.

Post-war years (1947–2002)Edit

After World War II, the team returned to Serie A by winning the Serie B championship of 1947–48. The new Palermo squad featured players such as Czechoslovakian legend Čestmír Vycpálek who signed from Juventus alongside Conti, Carmelo Di Bella and Pavesi.[19] Palermo played Serie A until they were relegated in 1954.[19][21] Massive changes in the board, as well as the manager's job and the squad, proved successful and the club returned to Serie A in 1956. Palermo became a "yo-yo club", bouncing up and down between the top two Italian leagues. Several stars played for Palermo during this period, such as Argentine striker Santiago Vernazza (51 goals in 115 games with the Rosanero),[22] goalkeepers Roberto Anzolin and Carlo Mattrel, Giuseppe Furino and Franco Causio. Palermo marked its best campaign in 1961–62 season, finishing in eighth place in Serie A. In 1963, however, they were relegated to Serie B, where they played for five seasons. Palermo played again in Serie A between 1968 and 1970.

In 1970, Renzo Barbera took over the club as the new chairman. After 1973, Palermo FBC remained firmly rooted in Serie B. Despite this, Palermo reached two Italian Cup finals, both of which they narrowly lost: in 1974 to Bologna on penalty shoot-outs, and in 1979 to Juventus after extra time. Barbera left the club in 1980 and Palermo were relegated to Serie C1 four years later. The 1985–86 season, however, which ended in the summer was the last for Palermo FBC as having just saved themselves from relegation, the club was expelled by the football federation due to financial problems. In the summer of 1987, after a year without professional football in Palermo, the club was re-founded bearing its current name, and began to play in Serie C2, which it promptly won.

In the 1990s, Palermo played between Serie B and Serie C1 with a few highs, such as its 1995–96 Serie B and Coppa Italia campaign, the latter ending in the quarter-finals, and a number of lows such as the 1998 relegation to Serie C2 after defeat in the play-offs to Battipagliese, later revoked by the federation to fill a vacant league slot.[23]

In March 2000, Roma chairman Franco Sensi led a holding company to purchase Palermo and Sergio D'Antoni became the president of Palermo[24] and Palermo were promoted to Serie B one year later after a dramatic final week of the season, with Palermo coming back from behind to take first place from league-toppers Sicilian rivals Messina. The first comeback season in the Serie B, with Bortolo Mutti as head coach, was an eventless one, with Palermo ending in a mid-table placement.

The Zamparini era: back to Serie A and European years (2002–2013)Edit

Palermo chairman and owner Maurizio Zamparini

In the summer of 2002, Friulian businessman and Venezia owner Maurizio Zamparini acquired the club from Franco Sensi in a €15 million bid, with the clear intention to bring Palermo back to Serie A and establishing the club as a Serie A regular with aims of participations to European competitions.[25] Palermo failed in its first attempt to reach the Serie A in 2002–03 on the final week of the season, but later managed to achieve it after a hard but successful 2003–04 campaign which saw Palermo crowned as Serie B champions and promoted to Serie A after 31 years, under head coach Francesco Guidolin, who was hired in January 2004 as replacement for dismissed Silvio Baldini.

The 2004–05 season, the first in Serie A for the Palermo club since 1973, ended with an excellent sixth place, securing qualification for the 2005–06 UEFA Cup for the first time in its history. Luca Toni broke the Palermo Serie A scoring record by notching up 20 league goals. Guidolin left in 2005 and was replaced by Luigi Delneri, who did not manage to repeat his predecessor's successes and was later replaced by Giuseppe Papadopulo. Despite an unimpressive eighth place in the Serie A table, Palermo reached the last 16 in the UEFA Cup as well as the Coppa Italia semi-finals. Guidolin's return was followed by Palermo being admitted to play UEFA Cup again due to the 2006 Serie A scandal and Palermo players Andrea Barzagli, Cristian Zaccardo, Simone Barone and Fabio Grosso being crowned 2006 World Cup winners. A number of impressive signings were made to establish an ambitious team,[26] and a good beginning in the 2006–07 campaign appeared initially to confirm this. An 11-game winless streak, however, forced Palermo to fall down from third to seventh place, ending the season in fifth place and ensuring another UEFA Cup qualification.

For the following 2007–08 season, emerging coach Stefano Colantuono was appointed at Guidolin's place. A number of unimpressive performances left the Rosanero in eighth place, seven points shy of the fourth UEFA Champions League spot, and a crushing 5–0 away defeat to Juventus led Zamparini to sack Colantuono on 26 November 2007 and call in Guidolin for a fourth spell as Palermo boss.[27] On 24 March 2008, Guidolin was sacked and left the club for the fourth time with his predecessor Stefano Colantuono taking charge for the second time in the season.[28]

Colantuono was confirmed as Palermo boss for the 2008–09 season. During the summer transfer market, club stars like Amauri, Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo were sold. New signings included former and current Italian internationals Marco Amelia, Fabio Liverani and Antonio Nocerino. The Rosanero started their season with a disappointing 2–1 home loss to Lega Pro Prima Divisione side Ravenna in the Third Round of the Coppa Italia. After just one game from the new campaign, a 3–1 loss to Udinese, Zamparini sacked Colantuono, and the head coach role was given to Davide Ballardini.[29] With Ballardini as head coach, Palermo ended the season with a respectable eighth place, and also won its first Campionato Nazionale Primavera national title, under the guidance of youth coach Rosario Pergolizzi.[30] After the end of the season, Palermo dismissed Ballardini from the coaching post following disagreements with the board, and replaced him with Walter Zenga, whose appointment from Sicilian arch-rivals Catania was greeted with surprise and dismay from supporters of both parties.[31] Zenga's reign, however, lasted only 13 games, as he was dismissed on 23 November 2009 due to poor performances, ironically after a 1–1 home tie to Sicilian rivals and Zenga's former team, Catania,[32] with former Lazio boss Delio Rossi being appointed at his place.[33] Under the tutelage of Delio Rossi, results dramatically improved, and Palermo established a record of seven consecutive home wins, and also achieved prestigious results such as two 2–0 wins against Italian giants Milan and Juventus. The latter win, achieved on February, led Palermo to climb over the Bianconeri in fourth place, establishing the Rosanero as serious contenders for a Champions League spot, which they ultimately lost to Sampdoria by only one point. Such season also launched new emerging stars such as midfielder Javier Pastore and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who went on to become integral part of their respective international teams.

Former club captain Fabrizio Miccoli

The new season started with Delio Rossi still in charge of the club: Simon Kjær and Edinson Cavani left the club, and a few more promising youngsters were signed (most notably Argentine Ezequiel Muñoz and the Slovene duo of Armin Bačinović and Josip Iličić), plus more experienced acquisitions such as forwards Massimo Maccarone and Mauricio Pinilla. The 2010–11 season also marked Palermo's return into continental football in the form of the UEFA Europa League. Palermo reached their third Coppa Italia finals after defeating Milan 4–3 on aggregate on 10 May 2011, losing 3–1 to Internazionale in the final. For the 2011–12 season, Delio Rossi was replaced by former Chievo boss Stefano Pioli, who was, however, sacked before the Serie A kickoff after being eliminated by Swiss minnows FC Thun in the Europa League third preliminary round. In a somewhat surprise move, Pioli was replaced by under-19 team coach Devis Mangia, with no managerial experience other than at youth team and minor league level; despite that, Mangia turned Palermo fortunes by leading the Rosanero in fifth place thanks to an impressive string of six consecutive home wins, thus deserving a long-term deal at the club. A string of poor results, however, led Palermo to three consecutive defeats, including elimination from the Coppa Italia and a disappointing loss in the Sicilian derby, persuading Zamparini to replace Mangia with the more experienced Bortolo Mutti.[34] Palermo arrived 16th in that season.

Zamparini's later years and Serie B return (2013–2018)Edit

Giuseppe Iachini, formerly a Palermo midfielder in the 1990s, replaced Gattuso as head coach during the 2013–14 season and led the club to a Serie B champions title and broke the highest-Serie-B-point record

For the 2012–13 season, Zamparini came with another staff revolution, appointing Giorgio Perinetti as the new director of football and Giuseppe Sannino as the manager, both coming from Siena. Significant sales included Federico Balzaretti and Giulio Migliaccio, who left the Rosanero as part of a complete restructuring. The season started in unfashionable manner, leading to Gian Piero Gasperini and Pietro Lo Monaco replacing Sannino and Perinetti. As Palermo descended into the relegation zone, Alberto Malesani replaced Gasperini for three games, Perinetti returned in place for Lo Monaco, and ultimately Sannino was re-hired to replace Gasperini. Despite a slight increase in results, Palermo ended its season in 18th place, being thus relegated to Serie B after nine consecutive seasons in the top flight.

For the new Serie B campaign, Zamparini appointed former Milan and Italy international star Gennaro Gattuso as the new manager,[35] despite him having little prior managerial experience; he was sacked in September 2013, the 28th sacked manager in 11 years. Fortune was reversed rather rapidly, however, as Palermo regained promotion back to Serie A for the 2014–15 season under the guidance of new head coach Giuseppe Iachini, with the Rosanero completing a record-breaking Serie B season with 86 points, one more than previous record holders Juventus, Chievo and Sassuolo (all of them in the 22-team Serie B format).

Due to his successful results, Palermo confirmed Iachini as head coach for the 2014–15 Serie A season, and agreed a contract extension until June 2016 with him. A new director of football, Franco Ceravolo (formerly a scout for Juventus), was instead named in place of Perinetti, but was removed (with Iachini being instead confirmed) after a dismal season start led Zamparini to intervene in order to turn the team's fortunes. The non-playing staff changes at Palermo turned out to be ultimately successful, with Palermo winning many games afterwards and entering the fight for a UEFA Europa League spot thanks to the all-Argentine striking force of Paulo Dybala and Franco Vázquez.

In 2015–16 season, Palermo started their season without Dybala after the youngster moved to Juventus; the Rosanero therefore relied on senior striker Alberto Gilardino to play as a partner of Vázquez. On 10 November 2015, coach Giuseppe Iachini was sacked due to disappointing results and replaced by Davide Ballardini.[36] Ballardini only lasted for 7 matches with Palermo before fired by Zamparini after spectacularly falling out with Palermo's players.[37] Palermo captain Stefano Sorrentino reported that during 1–0 victory against Hellas Verona, the coach did not speak to Palermo players neither before nor after the match.[38] Rosanero then hired Guillermo Barros Schelotto as a new manager, even though he did not have the necessary paperwork to be registered as Palermo coach, so his position was taken by Primavera youth team coach Giovanni Bosi during a 4–1 win over Udinese. Schelotto was registered as a team manager during that match.[39] Bosi's place as "official" manager was then taken over by Giovanni Tedesco, with Schelotto still awaiting for his paperwork.[40] On 10 February 2016, following Schelotto's resignation after UEFA's refusal to hand him a valid European coaching authorization, Palermo announced youth coach Giovanni Bosi as new head coach, with Tedesco as his technical collaborator.[41] Five days later, Bosi was sacked, and Iachini was re-appointed as manager.[42] On 10 March, Iachini was sacked once again, as Walter Novellino was appointed as his replacement.[43] Novellino was then sacked on 11 April.[44] Davide Ballardini was rehired a day later for the ninth managerial change that season.[45] On 15 May, Palermo escaped relegation on the last day of the league with the necessary win over Hellas Verona 3–2, securing 16th place.[46]

For the 2016–17 season, Zamparini re-appointed Rino Foschi as director of football; he however resigned after just a month in charge and was replaced by former Trapani director Daniele Faggiano. Most senior players such as Gilardino, Sorrentino, Vázquez and Maresca were sold and mostly replaced with Alessandro Diamanti plus a number of young and quasi-unknown foreign players. Ballardini, who was originally confirmed as head coach, left his position after a draw at Inter Milan at the second matchday of the season and was replaced with Serie A newbie Roberto De Zerbi.[47] De Zerbi's stint as Palermo head coach ended in dismal as he was sacked following Coppa Italia elimination at home against Serie B team Spezia, and after seven league losses in a row, with former club captain Eugenio Corini taking over.[48] This was followed by Faggiano's resignations; his role was not filled as Zamparini announced his intention to operate in the January 2017 transfer market with the support of a number of consultants of his, mostly Gianni Di Marzio, football agent Davor Ćurković and Dario Šimić (who was successively officially announced as part of the club non-coaching staff). After two more defeats against relegation battle opponents Empoli and Sassuolo, no major signing in the first half of January and eight points deep into relegation zone, Zamparini however decided to change his mind by appointing Nicola Salerno as new director of football.

On 27 February 2017, Zamparini stepped down as chairman of Palermo after 15 years in charge, announcing he had agreed in principle to sell his controlling stake to an unspecified Anglo-American fund,[49] led by Italian-American Paul Baccaglini who was named new club president on 6 March.[50]

Palermo ended the season in 19th place, being relegated to Serie B. The takeover, originally scheduled to be finalized by 30 April 2017 and then delayed by 30 June, eventually collapsed after Zamparini, who in the meantime had appointed Bruno Tedino as new head coach for the 2017–18 Serie B campaign, rejected the final offer he received from Baccaglini.[51] On 4 July 2017, Baccaglini resigned as Palermo chairmen, falling back into the hands of Zamparini, after the necessary funds were not in place.[52]

Palermo's campaign in the 2017–18 Serie B aimed to an immediate promotion to the top flight, with Bruno Tedino as head coach and Fabio Lupo as director of football. The Rosanero ended the first half of the season in first place; however, a streak of negative results and disagreements between Lupo and Zamparini led to the former's dismissal and replacement with Aladino Valoti. As results did not improve, Tedino was ultimately dismissed as well and replaced by Roberto Stellone, who however failed on winning promotion, ending the regular season in fourth place and eventually losing the playoff finals to Frosinone. The club also experienced a number of administrative issues which led to Zamparini appointing Giovanni Giammarva, an administrative expert from Palermo, as new president.

For the 2018–19 Serie B season, Palermo found themselves forced to sell a number of players due to financial issues, with Antonino La Gumina sold to Empoli for a reported fee of €9m and Igor Coronado to Sharjah FC for €6m. With Tedino reappointed as head coach, Zamparini also decided to rehire Rino Foschi as director of football for a third time, and Giammarva resigning from his chairman post on 8 August 2018. On 26 September 2018, Tedino was sacked for a second time, and again replaced by Stellone. On 24 October 2018, Raffaello Follieri's attempt to buy the club from Zamparini's hands collapsed.[53]

New ownerships, financial issues and Serie B exclusion (2018–2019)Edit

On 22 November 2018, the club formally confirmed a takeover agreement between Zamparini and an undisclosed investor.[54] On 1 December, Zamparini confirmed the sale of the club to an unnamed London company for the "symbolic" price of €10 (£8.75).[55] The takeover by Sport Capital Group Investments Ltd. was officially formalized on 29 December 2018, with English businessman Clive Richardson, head of the new group, being named as new club chairman.[56] In January 2019, the parent company, Sport Capital Group Investments was acquired by a listed company of NEX Exchange: Sport Capital Group plc, for a nominal fee.[57]

Following a January 2019 transfer session with no signings at all and tensions within the board, on 4 February 2019 Clive Richardson (chairman) and John Treacy (director) left the club with immediate effect.[58] On 14 February 2019, Sport Capital Group plc, the ultimate owner of the club, sold the parent company of the club, Palermo F.C. S.p.A., as well as the club itself and other subsidiaries, such as Mepal S.r.l., to a consortium that led by Daniela De Angeli (managing director), Rino Foschi (chairman) and other managers of the club, for a nominal fee.[59][60] On 3 May 2019, it was announced that Sporting Network S.r.l., controlled by hotel and tourism company Arkus Network S.r.l., had purchased Palermo F.C. S.p.A. as well as its subsidiaries U.S. Città di Palermo[61][62][63] and Mepal S.r.l..[64][65] The new owner Sporting Network S.r.l. subscribed a €5 million capital increase of the club.[64]

By the end of the 2018–19 Serie B, Palermo were originally the third-placed team with 63 points, but were placed at the bottom of the league table by the FIGC on 13 May, due to financial irregularities, relegating them to Serie C.[66] According to the press release of FIGC, under the Zamparini's ownership, the club had sold Mepal S.r.l., an investment vehicle that owns the image rights of the club, to a Luxembourger company controlled by Zamparini, and then the club leased back the image rights for a nominal fee.[66][67] On 29 May 2019, Palermo partially won on appeal against their relegation to Serie C, being docked 20 points for financial irregularities, therefore remaining in Serie B.[68]

On 24 June 2019, Palermo was reported to have failed to correctly submit its application to participate in the 2019–20 Serie B season, by failing to provide a valid insurance policy for the new year; in case of the application being rejected, the club would be excluded from Italian football and be possibly replaced by a phoenix club which would be forced to restart from Serie D, with all of its players and staff members being released automatically.[69] The club was formally excluded from Serie B on 12 July 2019.[2]

Colours and badgeEdit

Airoldi's letter in which he suggests to choose pink and black as official colours
Palermo's historical first red-blue kit.

The official badge as of 2004 is a pink/black escutcheon with an eagle poised for flight within it, and the official club denomination "U.S. Città di Palermo" in capital letters on the top. The eagle represents the city of Palermo, as it is also part of the city's official coat of arms.

Palermo originally played with red and blue as its official colours since its foundation in 1898, but decided to switch to the current choice of pink and black on 27 February 1907, contemporaneously with the change of denomination to "Palermo FootBall Club".[70]

The colour choice was suggested by Count Giuseppe Airoldi, a prominent founding member of the club. In a letter Airoldi wrote on 2 February 1905 to English club councillor Joseph Whitaker, he defined pink and black poetically as "colours of the sad and the sweet", a choice he asserted to be a good fit for a team characterised by "results as up and down as a Swiss clock", noting also the fact that red and blue were a widely used choice of colours at the time.[8]

The club had to wait for the new jerseys for three months, because no pink flannel material was available in Palermo and the appointed tailoring company had to import it from England.[70] The new shirts were first worn in a match against Sir Thomas Lipton's crew team; the match ended in a 2–1 win for Palermo.[70] From 1936 to 1940, the team were forced to play in red and yellow jerseys due to an imposition by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini (red and yellow being the official colours of the municipality of Palermo.) When the club was refounded in 1941 following a merger with Juventina Palermo, they started dressing in light blue shirts on the pitch, but switched back to the very popular pink and black only one year later.[20]

Shirt sponsors and manufacturersEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor[71][unreliable source?]
1979–80 Pouchain None
1981–82 NR Vini Corvo
1983–84 Pasta Ferrara
1985–86 Juculano
1987–90 Città di Palermo
1989–90 Hummel
1990–91 ABM
1991–92 Seleco
1992–93 Giornale di Sicilia
1993–94 Toka
1994–96 Provincia Regionale di Palermo
1996–97 Kappa Giornale di Sicilia
1997–98 Tomarchio Naturà
1998–99 Palermo Provincia Turistica
1999–00 Kronos Tele+
2000–01 Lotto Alitalia
2001–02 LTS
2002–06 Provincia di Palermo
2006–08 None
2008 Pramac
2008–09 None
2009–10 Betshop
2010 Eurobet
2010–11 Legea
2011–12 Eurobet & Burger King
2012–2013 Puma Eurobet & Italiacom
2013–2014 & Sigma
2014–2015 Joma RosaneroCares & CBM
2015–2017 None
2017–2019 Legea
2019 Gruppo Arena c/o Super Conveniente[72][73]


Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo

Palermo plays its home matches at Stadio Renzo Barbera, located in the Favorita neighbourhood. The stadium was opened in 1932, during the fascist regime, with the name Stadio Littorio (Lictorial Stadium). The inaugural match was played on 24 January 1932, against Atalanta; Palermo won it 5–1. In 1936, it was renamed Stadio Michele Marrone after a fascist hero who died in the Spanish Civil War.[74]

Initially a racetrack was present, and there were no curved sections, but only terraces and a stand. In 1948, following the end of World War II and the fall of the Fascist regime, the stadium assumed the denomination of Stadio La Favorita, after the neighbourhood where it was located, and was also heavily restructured, without racetrack and with two curved sections, thus increasing its capacity to 30,000.[74] In 1984 it was again enlarged, giving a capacity of circa 50,000. This higher capacity was however completely sold out only twice, respectively in a Serie C1 league match against Messina and a friendly match against Juventus.[74] On the occasion of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, the stadium was renovated with the addition of seats, but the capacity, which was reached on only two occasions before 1990, was reduced to 37,619. During the 1989 renovation works, five employees died following the collapse of a section of the stadium.[74] In 2002 the stadium was renamed in honour of Renzo Barbera, legendary Palermo chairman in the 1970s.[74]

Plans to move the club to a new state-of-the-art stadium to be built were announced in 2007 by then Palermo chairman and owner Maurizio Zamparini; the new venue was expected to be built in the area of the Velodromo Paolo Borsellino (a smaller venue which also hosted some Palermo games in the past) in the ZEN neighbourhood of the city of Palermo.[75]


Palermo supporters in the 2006 Sicilian derby

The majority of Palermo supporters come from the city and its neighbourhood. However, Palermo is also widely popular throughout Western Sicily, as well as among Sicilian immigrants in northern Italy, leading Palermo to have one of the largest followings in its away matches. Palermo supporters, mainly Sicilian emigrants, are also present outside Italy; a number of Palermo fans living in and around the German city of Solingen have even founded a club named after their favourite club, FC Rosaneri, which as of 2007 plays in the Kreisliga B league.[76][77][78]

Support for Palermo is closely associated with a strong sense of belonging to Sicily; indeed, it is not uncommon to see Sicilian flags waved by fans and ultras during Palermo matches. Palermo fans are also twinned with Lecce ultras.[79] The latter was even more strengthened in recent times by the acquisition of Fabrizio Miccoli, who is originally from the outskirts of Lecce and a well-known supporter of the local team, who went on to become a key player and captain for the Sicilians. Miccoli was also the most prolific Palermo player, setting records for: most Serie A league goals (74, from 2007–2013), most goals in all competitions (81, from 2007–2013) and most Serie A league appearances (165, from 2007–2013).

Palermo's biggest rivals are fellow islanders Catania. Matches between Palermo and Catania are usually referred to as Sicilian derbies, despite the existence of a third valid Sicilian team, Messina, who played in Serie A alongside Palermo and Catania in recent years. Rivalry with Messina, although historically older, is instead less intense than that with Catania.

The 2006–07 return match between Palermo and Catania, played on 2 February 2007 at Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania, is remembered due to the death of policeman Filippo Raciti who was injured during riots between the local police and the Catania supporters. This event led Italian Federation commissioner Luca Pancalli to suspend all football leagues and national team events in the whole country for a couple of weeks.

According to a survey of 2008, the team has about 1.47 million fans in Italy, ranking within the top ten of the Italian teams with the most fans.

Memorable was the trip to Rome for the Coppa Italia final on 29 May 2011 against Inter, which Palermo lost 3–1. According to statistical data, it was estimated that there were 45,000–50,000 fans from Palermo, many more than the Nerazzurri fans present.

On 13 July 2012, Palermo fans were recognised as the fairest in the 2011–12 season, winning the Fair Play Trophy "Gaetano Scirea" established by the Council of the Serie A.

Current squadEdit

As of 12 July 2019[80]

All players are released from their contract after the exclusion of the team.


Notable managersEdit

Below is a list of prominent head coaches who served at least two seasons, reaching at least a promotion or a tournament final during their stay with the club:

Chairmen historyEdit

Over the years Palermo has had various owners and chairmen; here is a chronological list of the known chairmen:[9]


  • Winners (1): 1920
  • Whitaker Challenge Cup
  • Winners (1): 1908
  • Winners (5): 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915


As of 24 January 2016
Italian striker Luca Toni holds the record for most goals in a single season with Palermo, scoring 30 times during the club's 2003–04 Serie B campaign

Not including league playoff matches

  • Most league goals – 74, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
  • Most Serie A league goals – 74, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
  • Most Coppa Italia cup goals – 7, Massimo De Stefanis (1979–1984)
  • Most Europa League/UEFA Cup goals – 4, Franco Brienza (2000–2013), Abel Hernández (2009–2014)
  • Most goals in all competitions – 81, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
  • Most goals in a season – 30, Luca Toni (2003–2004)
  • Most league appearances – 349+, Roberto Biffi (1988–1999)
  • Most European appearances – 15, Mattia Cassani (2006–2011)
  • Most Serie A league appearances – 165, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
  • Current player with most league appearances – 148, Mato Jajalo
  • Biggest win and biggest home win – 8–0 (v. Pro Patria, 5 November 1950)
  • Biggest away win – 7–1 (v. Lecce, 23 October 1994)
  • Biggest defeat and biggest away defeat – 0–9 (v. Milan, 18 February 1951)
  • Biggest home defeat – 0–7 (v. Udinese, 27 February 2011)
  • Highest number of points in Serie A league – 65 pt. (2009–10) 5th position
  • Best series without home defeats – 26 (Palermo–Lecce 5–2, 15 March 2009 – Palermo–Cagliari 0–0, 29 August 2010)
  • Greatest series of consecutive victories in Serie A league – 5 (2006–07)


In EuropeEdit

UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa LeagueEdit

Season Round Club Home Away Aggregate Reference
2005–06 First round   Anorthosis 2–1 4–0 6–1 [81]
Group B   Maccabi Petah Tikva N/A 2–1 1st
  Lokomotiv Moscow 0–0 N/A
  Espanyol N/A 1–1
  Brøndby 3–0 N/A
Round of 32   Slavia Prague 1–0 1–2 2–2 (a)
Round of 16   Schalke 1–0 0–3 1–3
2006–07 First round   West Ham United 3–0 1–0 4–0 [82]
Group H   Eintracht Frankfurt N/A 2–1 4th
  Newcastle United 0–1 N/A
  Fenerbahçe N/A 0–3
  Celta Vigo 1–1 N/A
2007–08 First round   Mladá Boleslav 0–1 1–0 1–1, 2–4 (p) [83]
2010–11 Play–off Round   Maribor 3–0 2–3 5–3 [84]
Group F   Sparta Prague 2–2 2–3 3rd
  Lausanne-Sport 1–0 1–0
  CSKA Moscow 0–3 1–3
2011–12 Third Qualifying Round   Thun 2–2 1–1 3–3 (a) [85]


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  • Prestigiacomo, Vincenzo; Bagnati, Giuseppe; Maggio, Vito (2001). Il Palermo: una storia di cento anni (in Italian). Palermo: Corrado Rappa. p. 232.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
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External linksEdit