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Fiorentina and La Dominante, the pre-Sampdoria days

Our history with the Genoann club dates back even further than the name Sampdoria

Football championship. fiorentina sampdoria. 1958 Photo by: Touring Club Italiano/Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The records show that our first meeting with Sampdoria came in the 1946/47 season. This was the first Serie A campaign after the Second World War, and Sampdoria had just been formed when Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria came together, mainly for financial reasons. Fiorentina had already played against Sampierdarenese, meeting on six occasions in the top division between 1934 and 1937, with the Viola losing just one of those games. Sampierdarenese would make up just one half of the new club however, but they had previously joined forces with Andrea Doria.

That union in 1927, was forced upon both clubs by Mussolini’s fascist regime. On July 4th, a small announcement in the Corriere Della Sera newspaper simply stated that the merger of the two clubs had been decided. It went on to explain that the terms of the merger would be decided upon as soon as possible, in a meeting that the managers of both clubs would hold, assisted by the President of the Fascist Provincial Sports Body. The name chosen for the new club, was La Dominante.

For the 1929/30 season, both Fiorentina and La Dominante found themselves competing in the first running of the new Serie B. This was also the season in which Fiorentina wore their now iconic purple strip for the first time ever. La Dominante meanwhile, were forced to wear a black jersey, to which was added a touch of green. On November 3rd, 1929, Fiorentina travelled to Genova for the game which would take place at the newly built Stadio del Littorio, constructed especially for the new club.

The Viola had made a positive start to the season. After their opening day scoreless draw with Casale, the team who would go on to win Serie B, they had then won all three of their games. They had scored four goals in each of those victories, defeating Monfalconese, Verona and Fiumana. La Dominante meanwhile, had lost away to both Casale and Atalanta, but had won both of their home games against Bari and Prato.

The home side took an early lead in the eight minute through Dario Gay, but just a minute later, Oscar Segoni had Fiorentina back on level terms. It was Gay, the former Milan player, who would put La Dominante back in front 12 minutes later. Dario would join Bari the following season, where he remained for three years before returning to Genova, and Sampierdarenese. With just over twenty minutes to play, Luigi Poggi scored his side’s third goal, and Fiorentina fell to their first defeat of the season. Poggi would later go on to play with Fiorentina in the 1938/39 season, alongside his brother Ernesto, better known as Gipo. Gipo would then join both Genoa and Sampdoria and went on to manage the latter.

At the end of March, the following year, La Dominante were the visitors to Fiorentina’s Velodromo Libertas. Fiorentina were coming off the back of a 3-0 win away to Fiumana while their opponents had beaten Atalanta 1-0, to stay in contention for promotion. After 36 minutes, Poggi scored to put his side ahead, but after that it was all Fiorentina. They went in 2-1 up at the break, after Clotario Stafetta equalized and Fortunato Baldinotti put the home side ahead.

Fiorentina went on to score a further four times in the second half. Stafetta and Baldinotti both bagged a second goal apiece, and the scoring was finished off with goals from Pilade Luchetti and Giuseppe Galluzzi, for a 6-1 win. Galluzzi had been with Juventus for the previous two seasons, and after four seasons with Fiorentina would return as manager in 1939 and lead us to our first ever Coppa Italia win. He then went on to become the first ever Sampdoria manager in 1946.

By the end of that 1929/30 season, both Fiorentina and La Dominante would fall just short of promotion. The Genova side finished in third place, with Fiorentina two points behind in fourth. Casale and Legnano were the sides promoted to Serie A.

The following season La Dominante became Foot Ball Club Liguria, when another local club was forced to join with Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria, Corniglianese. This new alliance did nothing to improve results for the club which had never really been accepted by the local fans. In the 1930/31 season, Fiorentina returned to the Stadio del Littorio to take on FBC Liguria in January 1931.

Giovanni Corbjons put Fiorentina ahead after 15 minutes. This was his second and final goal that season, for the former Roma player. Corbjons was a member of the very first Roma squad after their formation, having previously played for two of the clubs which would go on to form the new club, Alba Roma and Fortitudo. Liguria would take a point from the game however, with Giacomo Narizzano scoring the equalizer. The Genova born midfielder had also played with Roma, and earlier he had been a part of the Vado team which won the first ever Coppa Italia in 1922. In the semi-final of that competition, his side had defeated Libertas Firenze after extra-time, Libertas would of course go on to become Fiorentina when they joined together with CS Firenze.

The week before that game, Fiorentina had also drawn at Bari, where Dario Gay, former La Dominante player, again scored twice to deny Fiorentina the victory. Bari would turn out to be the club which would compete with Fiorentina at the top, while FBC Liguria struggled at the bottom. On the penultimate day of the season, they were the Viola’s opponents at the Velodromo, and a narrow win, the only goal coming from Stafetta, practically guaranteed Fiorentina of promotion. The following week saw them draw away to Spezia to finish top of the table, level on points with Bari, as both clubs won promotion with two points to spare over Palermo.

While Fiorentina were celebrating that draw and promotion at the Alberto Picco in Spezia, Liguria forfeited their final game against Cremonese. They ended the season bottom of the table and relegated from Serie B. In reality, it meant both Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria playing in the third tier the following season, as FBC Liguria came to an end. It also means that the last ever game that the club played was against Fioretina. In their Group D of the Prima Divisione, which also included Empoli, Pisa and Lucchese, Sampierdarenese finished second and won promotion to Serie B.

After two seasons in Serie B, they were promoted to Serie A, where they joined Fiorentina, for the 1934/35 season. Between 1937 and 1945 they played under the name AC Liguria. Andrea Doria, meanwhile, were still struggling in Serie C, and by 1940 had even been relegated from the third tier. Now playing in the Ligurian regional league, after one season the club folded. It returned in 1944, and by 1946 with Sampierdarenese selected to play in Serie A but in financial difficulties, Andrea Doria were due to compete in Serie B and were able to put together a strong squad of players. This is how they came to join forces, this time by choice, although they initially clashed over the name of the new club. Doria Samp wasn’t to the liking of the Sampierdarenese owners, and eventually it was agreed to play together under the name Sampdoria.

As for the old Stadio del Littorio, it had been damaged during the war, but Sampdoria did use it as a training ground in their early days. Just like Fiorentina’s old Stadio Velodromo Libertas in Via Bellini, it too was demolished in the Fifties.