Shirt Sponsor: ERG (Edoardo RaffinerieGarrone)
It is a kit indelibly etched into Sampdoria’s history. For this is the kit in which Samp lifted the 1990-91 Serie A title, their only Scudetto to date.
The side from Genoa had approached that season in confident mood. Under the tenure of legendary coach, Vujadin Boškov, they had already won the Coppa Italia in 1989 and the European Cup Winners Cup a year later. The Serb tactician had compiled a talented squad, built around the defensive steel of Pietro Vierchowod, the versatility of Attilio Lombardo and the attacking guile of Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli. As such, only slight alterations were required for the campaign ahead, with a fresh faced Enrico Chiesa making way for Udinese’s Marco Branca, and attacking midfielder Alexei Mikhailichenko arriving from Dynamo Kiev.
Tweaks were made to Samp’s kit too. Their sponsor, Italian energy company ERG, now took pride of place across the chest, while manufacturer Kappa was replaced by Asics. However, the design stayed much the same. The blue theme was complemented by the customary white, red and black strips that circled the chest, a colour scheme that has become synonymous with the club, earning Samp the nickname ‘I Blucerchiati’ (The Blue-ringed). Like many of il Doria's kits, it was a blend of simplicity and elegance, much like the team itself.
But this kit was made all the more mythical by the performances that yielded a Scudetto. And in a league that boasted the likes of Diego Maradona’s Napoli, Lothar Matthäus’ Inter and the reigning European Champions AC Milan, this was a monumental achievement. Along the road to glory, Boškov’s men did the double over all three, eventually finishing a comfortable five points above the Rossoneri (these were the days in which only two points were awarded for a victory).
While there were many outstanding performances, Samp’s 4-1 victory away at Napoli quintessentially captured the attributes that made them Italy’s best. The game had everything, from stunning saves by the ever dependable Gianluca Pagliuca, to four emphatic goals, including a pair of breath-taking volleys by Vialli and Mancini. Vialli’s strike was a technical masterclass in how to hit a ball falling over your shoulder, while Mancini’s was just as impressive, if not more so. Timing his run perfectly, the Samp number 10 met the ball just inside the area and rifled the ball in off the post using a quasi-scissor kick technique. Both were instant contenders in a pretty remarkable goal of the season.
A year later, this Sampdoria side almost went one better, narrowly losing in the European Cup final to Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona. The defeat spelled the end of a golden era. Boškov departed to Roma while Vialli was lured to Juventus. Although Samp continued to attract the continent’s best talent, signing Ruud Gullit and David Platt, they failed to scale previous heights.
Sampdoria still produce some of Italy’s most stylish kits, but none will be as symbolic as the one worn by the club’s Scudetto heroes. Boškov called the title the sweetest achievement in his career, and it is one that will live long in the memories of Blucerchiati fans.
Words by Luca Hodges-Ramon: @LH_Ramon25
'Luca is co-editor of The Gentleman Ultra and wrote the guides to the Ultras of Italian football. His research interests lie in the intersection of football, socio-politics and history.'