#ShirtStories: Sampdoria

30/03/17

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After visits to Spain and the Netherlands, #ShirtStories continues with a visit to northern Italy, as we pick apart the unique history and heritage of the 2016-17 Sampdoria home jersey.

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Click to find the 2016-17 Sampdoria home shirt on Kitbag.com or read on for the full story.

History of the design

In contrast to our previous teams of focus, Unione Calcio Sampdoria did not come together until the mid-1940s, formed out of a post-war union between the previously-existing Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria clubs. As was common in continental Europe, both Sampierdarenese and Andrew Doria had been multi-sports entities, with the former beginning their football around the turn of the twentieth century and latter drawing their identity from the name of a distinguished admiral, who fought for the Republic of Genoa during the 1400s.

On the field, Andrea Doria played their games in classic Italian blue, while their counterparts at Sampierdarenese kicked off in white shirts, with a red and black horizontal striped mid-section. With these factors in mind, the jerseys of the new, unified Sampdoria club would incorporate key colours from both uniforms, combining Sampierdarenese’s red/black (on white) with a backdrop of Andrea Doria blue, to create the synonymous Sampdoria style.

Sampdoria 1962

Classic moments and key players

Principally unchanged through the 50s, 60s and 70s, Sampdoria’s distinctive tops would symbolise their golden era of 1985 to 1994, a period that saw a host of British players come to join the cause. After lifting consecutive European Cups with Nottingham Forest, Trevor Francis made the switch to Sampdoria in 1982 and Graeme Souness was not far behind, signing from all-conquering Liverpool in 1984. The duo helped Sampdoria capture their first ever Coppa Italia in 1985, with Souness himself scoring in a first-leg win over Milan at the San Siro. As it was, this landmark victory would kick-start a decade of unprecedented success.

With a host of blossoming talents in tow, Sampdoria bagged back-to-back Coppa Italias in 1988 and 1989, as well as an appearance in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Barcelona. One season later, Sampdoria outlasted Anderlecht in extra-time to become the first European Cup Winners’ Cup champions of the 1990s, reaping the rewards of a squad home to rising stars like Roberto Mancini, Attilio Lombardo, Gianluca Vialli and goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca.

ROBERTO MANCINI E GIANLUCA VIALLI  NELLA SAMPDORIA   FOTO OMEGA (Agenzia: OMEGA)

Then came the club’s crowning glory, as Sampdoria snared the Scudetto championship for the first time in their history; finishing a full five points ahead of AC and Inter Milan, with an invigorated Vialli firing 19 goals past Serie A’s notoriously-watertight defences. The title triumph unlocked the club’s one and only European Cup campaign and a run that would carry them all the way to the Wembley final; though again Barcelona would prove an obstacle too far, in a match where curiously neither side would wear their famous first choice colours.

Undeterred, under manager Sven Goran Eriksson, Sampdoria and their unique home jerseys would be a major part of Channel 4’s Football Italia programme, with the club’s 1992-93 opener against Paul Gascoigne’s Lazio the first to be broadcast in what would become a highly-popular Sunday afternoon slot. While an injured Gazza might have drawn the attention that season, it was Sampdoria rather than their Serie A foes who would strengthen their English connections, with World Cup star David Platt crossing over from Juventus in 1993 and linking up with international teammate Des Walker, a 1992 recruit. Later campaigns would meanwhile see the likes of Daniel Dichio (1997-98) and Lee Sharpe (1998-99) turn out for the Genoa-based club, affirming Sampdoria’s unlikely status as the most English side in Italy.

Sampdoria 1993-94

Crest and other elements

Continuing with the English theme, and much like fellow Serie A luminaries AC Milan, Cagliari and Bologna, the Sampdoria crest includes a version of the cross of St. George; the very same symbol that serves as England’s flag and features on the civic shield of Genoa, the Italian club’s home city. This shield itself appears prominently as the jersey’s commanding centrepiece, occupying the central area more customarily reserved for shirt sponsorship. Instead, the presence of this long-standing symbol continues a tradition that has highlighted Sampdoria jerseys for decades; and one that is properly preserved for the 2016-17 edition. The link between Genoa and the warrior saint can actually be traced back multiple centuries, with Genoa’s former Bank of St. George one of the first in history to open up its doors.

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Returning to the crest and sidestepping its smart integration of core kit colours, the shadowy silhouette figure is a sailor known as Baciccia, a nod to Genoa’s sea culture and status as one of Europe’s foremost port cities. Interestingly, there is a story attached to Bacciccia, as in 2009, an anti-tobacco group campaigned for the removal of his pipe from the badge entirely. Perhaps as a compromise, the crest would be moved to its former sleeve location thereafter, but it would not be long before Bacciccia returned to the fore, where he remains today.

Among the shirt’s other highlights, a vintage V-neck collar carries colour-consistent trim in the aforementioned red and black Sampierdarenese style, while the motto of ‘SOLO LA SAMPDORIA’ (‘ONLY SAMPDORIA’) is contained at the inner neck. Flipping to the rear meanwhile, a stylised ‘U.C. Sampdoria’ signature stands tall at the back neck point, completing an image that oozes Italian class, while re-emphasising this enduring union.

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Manufacturer and sponsorship

Sampdoria’s 2016-17 home shirt is the second manufactured by Joma and bears the visual identity of the Spanish firm, in unorthodox shoulder positioning. Founded in 1965, Joma’s growth in the football kit market has been gradual, yet their portfolio of top tier teams is increasingly impressive, with Empoli, Toulouse and Villarreal all coming on board of late and Swansea City recently becoming the first Premier League club to partner up with the brand.

As covered, the chest zone more commonly used for sponsorship is instead reserved for Genoa’s city shield, with the embroidered Joma name at the right breast the closest to corporate intrusion. To the chagrin of the traditionalist, December 2016 saw Sampdoria strike a deal with travel firm Veratour, preceding the inclusion of their own logo on the jersey for future matches. Nevertheless, the edition stocked at Kitbag.com sticks strictly to the traditional template; sponsor-free and gloriously so. The result is a clean, classic image that evokes memories of Sampdoria’s past, while delivering a stylish look for present day fans.

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Across the season

The 2016-17 season is Sampdoria’s sixtieth in Serie A, with Colombian forward Luis Muriel leading the way with a hatful of goals to his credit. The design debuted in August at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris has since has been showcased in wins over Inter Milan and Torino, as well as during a seven-match unbeaten streak that took in victories over Roma and rivals Genoa. The club would meanwhile don the jersey for their Coppa Italia clashes with Bassano Virtus and Cagliari, before defeat to Roma in the Round of 16 put their cup campaign to bed.

Technical breakdown

While Nike offer Dri-FIT and adidas climacool®, the Joma brand deploys its own specific DRYMX technology to remove sweat from the skin, absorbing the body’s natural humidity and transferring it to the outer of the jersey, for easy evaporation and all the resulting comfort. 100% polyester in its make-up, the club crest, civic shield and brand name all appear in embroidered form, with a jock tag element included for added authenticity. AC

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Enjoy the story? Follow the respective links for our #ShirtStories on Atlético Madrid and Ajax.

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