To start: Sampdoria has a sailor on its official badge. A frikkin’ sailor. C’mon. Enough said, they’re awesome. But I guess two brothers sucking on a she-wolf is kinda awesome, too. And kinky, but it’s best not to go into details for now. Kids might be reading this.
Anyway, let me put aside my love for everything AS Roma (yes, I still love that crazy bunch of bastards although I admit it’s kinda hard these days), and talk a bit about this other team in Serie A. It’s blue, but don’t be afraid, they’re far more lovable than Lazio. It’s located in a city that brags with two teams in the highest football division of Italy. No, don’t be afraid, it’s not Juve, Milan or Inter.
Sampdoria Genoa. Or simply just ‘Samp’. Such a juicy name, isn’t it? And next to Roma one of the teams I always follow closely during the season. They were in B not so long ago, but thank God they returned to the highest tier after just one year. Sampdoria are an entertaining side and a true added value for the league.
A menace for the big teams, tough visits to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris every year, top talents in their ranks or youth products rising to fame, Samp offers it all. And its stadium, also known as Marassi, probably saw the most wonderful Francesco Totti goal ever. And their kits. Boy, their wonderful kits. Sampdoria rock an awesome badge and jersey, no wonder it’s usually voted among the best football shirts in Europe.
Now, I only know the Blucherati since I started following Serie A closely, around 2003ish. They have an amazing history, especially in the 80’s and 90’s. One Scudetto, 4 Coppa Italia and one final in the European Cup. It was a golden era for Sampdoria, led by famous players like Mancini, Vialli, Pagliuca and Vierchowod. Sven-Goran Eriksson and Boskov were the coaches back then. Fun fact: both men also coached AS Roma during those two decades.
I remember 15 years ago you had illustrious names like Bazzani, Flachi and Cristiano Doni at Samp. Montella joined them one season on loan from Roma. You had that strange striker Kutuzov. Bonnazoli, Gastaldello, Ziegler, Volpi, Diana, Palombo. Hardly world-beaters but they rake up so many memories. I often chose them on FIFA/PES just because I thought they were awesome, had nice kits, and a strong Italian roster.
Next to all those previously mentioned names I’m forgetting my unlimited man-love for Quagliarella and even Cassano’s short but sweet stint. And of course the machine at LB, Max Tonetto. However, there’s maybe one player in Samp’s history who I still condemn to the Seven Circles of Hell and that’s Pazzini. April 2010, Olimpico. Yeah, the feels…
Under Novellino and Mazzarri they usually were parked between 5th and 10th (hey, a bit like Roma these days). With Del Neri at the helm they even qualified for the Champions League Play-off round (sadly won by Werder Bremen). They spent one season in B in 2011-2012 and had a bit of trouble after that promotion, usually ending at or below tenth place.
But when I look at Samp nowadays, they still have a decent, talented squad. One that can easily finish in the first half of the table and challenge the likes of Fiorentina, Torino, Atalanta and Roma (last sting at Roma, I promise). I wouldn’t mind a guy like Bereszynski, Praet or Murru in Rome to be honest. The man on fire, Quags, too of course. And the Roman touch is present as well with Caprari and Defrel in their ranks.
Yes, they’re a special bunch, Sampdoria. Led by a special man, Massimo Ferrero, a self-profound Giallorossi fan and president of the Blucherati. An entrepreneur, a lover of all things cinematographic, but also Roman. Massimo once famously said this:
“Ho il cuore blucerchiato e la testa giallorossa.”
Sounds about right, bring him home! It never is a dull day with Ferrero in the office and imagine if he joined the madhouse of Roma...
By the way, doesn’t it strike you? All the links with Roma. All those names. Tonetto, Ferrero, Montella, Cassano, Del Neri, Vierchowod, Defrel, Eriksson, Boskov; Roma and Sampdoria are like the Serie A nephews.
The Roma-Sampdoria network has always been there through the years: Zukanovic, Dodo, Guberti, Zotti, Curci, Romagnoli, all the way up to Patrick Schick. The list goes on and on. Sassuolo - Roma? Pfft, that’s nothing compared to the long-lasting relationship between these two clubs.
And this weekend they’ll entertain each other once again at the Marassi. You know, the Totti goal and celebration. The standing ovation from the Samp fans. But that was a long time ago and the Marassi hasn’t been kind to Roma, with just one away win since 2008 in all competitions. Yikes. With Roma’s current form anyone who bets on a Roma win on Saturday is either a fool or a psychic.
I almost wanted to say ‘things might get ugly’, but with Sampdoria they never will. Because it’s one of Italy’s most gorgeous clubs.