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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sampdoria football club's English fans in Genoa in Italy 1991


In this picture, I and four mates (all of us from England) plus our Italian friend Claudio of the Sampdoria Ultras (Football stewards.)From left to right is: Paul Stamp, Me (Colin Powell), Dave Fenton, Claudio (with scarf around waist) Ronnie Fenton and Jim Morey.

We all caught a train one Saturday morning from Victoria station in London to Dover. From here we caught a ferry over to France and another train to Paris. We changed at Paris and caught a train to Genoa in northern Italy.

We arrived in Genoa at about 7am on the Sunday morning. I think it was in March or late February - I can't be exactly sure of the date. We all wanted to go to see Sampdoria in 1991 because they were having a splendid season and we had been watching the Italian league football via the old defunct square dish of BSB.

This was the season after the Italia90 World Cup and everything Italian and football was in, for Italy was the Hollywood of football talent at the time. Because Sampdoria was having this magnificent season we decided to go and watch a game and got an Italian friend who worked in London with us, to write a letter in Italian. We got a taxi driver ,at the station in Genoa, to take us to the football ground on this early Sunday morning. Everything was closed, as one might expect, on Sunday morning. The city was charming, old and surrounded by mountains. 

When we got out of the taxi by the football ground we approached a group of Ultras standing outside of the ground and gave them the letter written in Italian. They seemed surprised and pleased that English football lovers had come to Genoa to watch Sampdoria. It was then that one of the Ultras called over to Claudio, who seemed to speak good English. I can remember them being amused and saying 'Inglesis,' amid their talk.

The Italians treated us so wonderfully as we waited through the day to watch the match that started at about 3pm. We made good friends with Claudio who got us into the ground.

It was a great game for us to watch because Sampdoria was playing Napoli and Diego Maradona was still playing for Napoli at the time. It was one of his last games for the club. We, of course, were cheering for Sampdoria who had players like Mancini (Man City Manager) Vialli (who later played at Chelsea) Attila Lombardo (who also came to England)

Sampdoria was challenging for the Italian league title at the time and rivals Inter Milan were playing AC Milan in a local Italian derby. Inter lost against AC Milan which helped Sampdoria to take the lead of the title race. They beat Napoli 4-1 in a great game. First a Brazilian veteran player named, Cerasoe scored. Then Vialli scored making it two to Sampdoria. Mancini was subbed early because I think he was injured. In the second half, Vialli got another - I remember he headed in from a corner. Napoli got one back from the penalty spot. Maradona scored this goal. Then finally Attila Lombardo got a fourth for Sampdoria.

We also met a Scottish doctor living and working in Genoa. He was from London and liked Spurs - much to Ronnie and Dave Fenton's delight. (I know London is not in Scotland, but this guy, called Don was like a Rod Stewart or Ronnie Wood type Scot) He took us to a restaurant after the game and see us off to the station later in the evening as we caught a train back to Paris and then to Calais then again, via hovercraft, back to England.

Sampdoria went on to win the Italian League. I think we English visitors brought a little good fortune along with us on that day. The great side stayed in front until the end of the season. Sampdoria is always this group of English men's favourite club. I always look at the Italian results to see how Sampdoria have done.        





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