Great one-offs – Sampdoria, 2016

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By Les Motherby

Multi-generational households are the norm in Italy, and in the port city of Genoa that notion extends to football clubs too. The Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, known locally as the Marassi, is home to the oldest and one of the youngest professional clubs on the peninsula.

The younger side, Sampdoria, were founded after the second world war, though their origins go much further back: Ginnastica Sampierdarenese (founded 1891) and Society Andrea Doria (1895) combined names and kit styles when they merged in 1946 to create a rival to the Genoa Cricket and Football Club, who were 53 years old by then.

Sampdoria’s 70th anniversary occurred in 2016 and the septuagenarian status of I Bluerchiati was acknowledged with a commemorative shirt. Supplier Joma provided a retro styled garment, but not one based on the shirts from Sampdoria’s first campaign, which were a mixture of V- and crew-necklines.

This shirt had a deep V and a white drawstring, a feature that appeared on jerseys worn by the Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria clubs back in the 1920s. Not however, on early Sampdoria shirts, it would be the mid-1970s before a lace up neck first appeared on the colori magici, or magic colours, a look replicated by Asics in 1994/95.

As befitting a retro styled shirt, there was no ‘Baccicia’ club crest (he wasn’t created until 1980) and no club sponsor, but sadly Spanish firm Joma couldn’t bring themselves to omit their own logo, or even switch it from white to blue to be less conspicuous. The commemorative shirts were limited in number, with just 500 made in total. A hundred were kept by the club, with some of those reserved for match use, while 400 units in special boxes were sold to supporters.

Shirts from the club’s supply were used once in competitive action, in August 2016 when Samp faced lower-league side Bassano Virtus in the third round of the Coppa Italia, just two days after the 70th anniversary.

Style points awarded to Joma for producing a black with lace-neck goalkeeper jersey for use in this game (custodian Emiliano Viviano wore number 2) were deducted when the retro shirts were worn with contemporary shorts and socks. Coppa Italia sleeve patches and player names further diminished the vintage look, but presumably that was down to competition rules.

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