Genoa (actually called Genoa Cricket and Football club) is one of the most successful Italian club all time, with 9 league-titles. The club was formed in 1893, 53 years older than local rivals Sampdoria, and had their big period in the early 1900-ties, when the Italian league was a lot smaller (most of their titles Genoa won when the league only had 6 teams…), but must anyway be counted as one of the biggest clubs in Italy.
They have struggled hard the last 10 years, but maybe 2004/05, with new successful manager Serse Cosmi (ex-Perugia) it might be their moment again. They have started the season in a splendid way, and is at least on a very good way back to the Serie A.
The most successful period recently of Genoa is the begin of the 1990-ties, when they first got back in the Serie A, and then 1990/91 also managed to finish in 4th position. The next year they played in the Uefacup, where they won against for example Liverpool and Real Oviedo, until they finally went out in the semifinal against dutch side Ajax. Among the most famous players in this period you’ll see Czech international Tomas Skurhavy, who for example scored four times for his national team in the World Cup 1990.
If Genoa is the most successful of the city’s two teams in the whole history, for sure Sampdoria is the most successful of the two during the last 15-20 years. They won the Italian cup in 1987, which led them all the way to the final of the Cupwinners Cup the year after, where they lost against Barcelona.
That didn’t stop them though, as they took revenge 1989/90 in the same cup, then won their first league title 1990/91, and then went all the way to the final in the European Cup (current Champions League) the year after. There, once again, Barcelona became too tough, and won the final at Wembley Stadium, London.
Except for another victory in the Italian Cup (1993/94) that was the last big success for Sampdoria. They had some years in the middle of the table, until they 1998/99 got relegated to the Serie B.
2002/03 they finally made their way back, under successful manager Walter Novellino. First season in A they were close to book a spot in the Uefacup, but Udinese got to strong in the end.
During this period “Doria” has have a lot of famous players in their squad, as Ruud Gullit, Roberto Mancini, David Platt, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Attila Lombardo and Gianluca Vialli.
Nowadays their most famous players are attackers Fabio Bazzani and Francesco Flachi. Last seasons biggest surprise, Stefano Bettarini who even made it to the Italian nationalteam, will miss half this season (04/05) due to a betting-scandal involving many clubs, players and leaders in the Italian league-system.
UPDATE January 2008: Sampdoria has since sacked Novellino, and loaned in Antonio Cassano, ex-Roma and Real Madrid-player. This season (07/08) they have played really well during the first half.
Stadio Luigi Ferrari holds a crowd of 40 266 spectators and was used as one of the 12 stadiums during the World Cup 1990. A more common name of the stadium is “Marassi” while it got it’s new name (after a famous Genoa-player who was killed during the first World War) for the World Cup-tournament.
The stadium, whatever name you use on it, is one of the tightest stadiums I’ve seen. Maybe Boavista’s stadium in Porto, Portugal, might give some competition, but I’m not sure… Wherever you sit in the Genoa-stadium the atmosphere is fantastic, and it feels like you’re standing in the middle of the curva, in the middle of the most hardcore-supporters, even if you’re standing 100 meters away from them on the longside-tribune…
Sampdoria-supporters are standing in the Curva Nord, while you’ll find the Genoa-supporters at the other end, Curva Sud. Away-supporters have two sectors at the longside, depending which team of Sampdoria and Genoa they’ll meet.
Derbies between Sampdoria and Genoa are sure to be a thrilling story! This year (07/08) Genoa is finally back in Serie A again, and the first derby between them since 2002/03 was great! Unfortunately rocked by big fights outside the stadium before the game, which led to massive suspensions from the stadium for a lot of supporters.
While we’re waiting for the next derby a visit at Sampdoria-Milan, Sampdoria-Juventus or Sampdoria-Inter would be a great moment for anyone who’s looking for a big game, good play, and good atmosphere.
For Genoa the friendship-game against Napoli should be nice, as well as the games against the teams above.