West Ham United's largest Italian supporters' club cannot wait for the Hammers' Marathonbet Cup fixture with Serie A side UC Sampdoria.

Genoa-based Sampdoria will become the fifth Italian club to take on the Hammers since 2006 when they visit east London on Saturday 9 August

Martelli d'Italia - Hammers of Italy - are regular visitors to the Boleyn Ground and the group will be out in force again for the 2014/15 season curtain-raiser, with members hailing from towns and cities all over the Italian mainland and the island of Sardinia.

With tickets starting from just £15 for Adults and £5 for U16s, Martelli founder Nicola Morosini said the Club's Italian fans are looking forward to watching West Ham take on their fellow countrymen this summer. At the same time, Morosini said many Martelli members would see their loyalties split by the visit of i Blucerchiati.


"We were actually a little bit surprised because we didn't expect a friendly match against an Italian team at the Boleyn," admitted Morosini, "But, of course, we were also happy about it.

"Of course, it's a special occasion because it's rare to see an Italian team at Upton Park and articles about West Ham in Italian newspapers.

"We have many Sampdoria supporters in the group so it will be a historical match for them, even if it's a friendly, and they will have big talks on social networks with all our English friends."

When asked what sort of challenge Sinisa Mihajlovic's side will pose to the Hammers, Morosini explained that the Genovese were also seeking to improve on a challenging 2013/14 campaign next season.

Martelli D'Italia

"Sampdoria is a mid-table team that have some difficult moments last season that led to a manager change," he explained. "Now they have also changed their squad so the future targets for them are still unpredictable.

"For now we can highlight the skill of the captain Angelo Palombo and the two strikers Manolo Gabbiadini and Eder, who scored most of the goals for the team last season. There is also another striker Okaka that previously played in Premier League for Fulham.

"Their manager Mijailovic likes a type of play that mixes technique and speed so they will try to take the lead at the start of the game and bring home the match because in the second half there could be many substitutions and less energy."

While the Martelli d'Italia are familiar with the surroundings of the Boleyn Ground, Morosini said their counterparts from Sampdoria would also feel comfortable at the home of the Hammers.

And the similarities between the two clubs do not end there.

"Sampdoria's Luigi Ferraris stadium - also called 'Marassi' by many of their supporters - is the most 'English-style' stadium in Italy with stands close to the pitch and a great atmosphere when Sampdoria or Genoa play at home.

"The other things in common with West Ham are the great loyalty of the supporters to the team - they sold out even in Serie B.

"There is also the fact that football in Genoa was founded by English people!"