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Sampdoria 1995-96 – a chip off the old block

In one of the site’s early articles, we looked at the mode of numbering which Italy favoured at major finals until the 1998 World Cup – apart from goalkeepers, who wore 1, 12 and 22, the rest of squad was numbered in positional ‘blocks’.

Serie A moved away from 1-11 in 1995-96 but, despite the block system being so associated with squad numbers, only one side – Sampdoria – opted to arrange their squad in such a fashion:

1. Walter Zenga
12. Angelo Pagotto
22. Matteo Sereni
23. Fabrizio Marchesotti

2. David Balleri
3. Ricardo Ferri
4. Marco Franceschetti
5. Moreno Mannini
6. Alessandro Lamonica
7. Emanuele Pesaresi
8. Marco Rossi
9. Stefano Sacchetti

11. Alberigo Evani
13. Giovanni Invernizzi
14. Christian Karembeu
15. Fausto Salsano
16. Siniša Mihajlović
17. Clarence Seedorf
24. Vincenzo Iacopino

10. Roberto Mancini
18. Claudio Bellucci
19. Mauro Bertarelli
20. Enrico Chiesa
21. Filippo Maniero

There are a couple of exceptions, just as Italy often had. Captain Roberto Mancini was allowed to keep his favoured number 10 and we presume Vincenzo Iacopino was added to the squad after the season had begun.

The swap between Fausto Salsano and Siniša Mihajlović must have been negotiated between the pair. The goalkeepers were out of order too, but Italy often numbered their netminders by status rather than name too.

For the following season, 1996-97, there were a few changes. Evani switched from 11 to 3 as to plan was for him to feature more at left-back. Mihajlović moved to 11, though he was beginning to metamorphose from a midfielder to a free-kick-scoring centre-back. Iacopino took the number 16 that the Serb had vacated.

Having played just ten games, Lamonica moved to Venezia on loan for 1996-97, meaning that Sacchetti could drop 9 for the more sensible 6, allowing new centre-forward Vincenzo Montella to wear the number more associated with his position. When Lamonica came back for 1997-98, he wore 17.

Rossi had left during the 1995-96 season, meaning that midfielder Pierre Laigle was able to wear 8 when he signed in the summer of 1996. Thereafter, like most other Italian sides – with the honourable exception of Juventus – Samp drifted away from ‘normal’ numbering towards the anarchy of the current day.

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Sampdoria 1995-96 – a chip off the old block