Sampdoria was created in 1946 by the merger of Andrea Doria and Sampierdarenese, going on to mixed results until their relegation to Serie B in 1966. The Blucerchiati earned immediate promotion and held mid-table status for a decade, but the 1970s were their darkest hour with a series of mediocre Second Division performances.
Beloved President Paolo Mantovani took charge in 1979 and oversaw what was to become one of Italy’s greatest sides. The culmination of this project, with Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini leading the way, was the 1991 Scudetto, Cup-Winners Cup, Italian Super Cup and four Coppa Italias. Perhaps Mantovani’s greatest regret was seeing his side beaten by Barcelona during extra time of the 1992 European Cup Final.
Since Mantovani’s death they have struggled with financial woes, selling off all their top stars, and spent four years in Serie B. But a massive injection of funds from new owner Riccardo Garrone, an oil baron, saw them return.
Built in 1911, the Stadio Luigi Ferraris is one of Italy’s oldest stadiums. Sampdoria share the ground with Genoa who regard the arena as theirs – in fact many locals still refer to it as “U Campu du Zena” which means Genoa’s pitch in Ligurian dialect.
The Luigi Ferraris – also known as the Marassi after the district it’s in – was redeveloped for the 1990 World Cup and its square red structure makes it one of Italy’s most recognisable stadiums.
Located near the city centre, it’s easy to reach on foot or on a special stadium bus which departs from either of the city’s main railway stations Principe or Brignole.