BBC BLOGS - Phil Minshull
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

St Pauli ready to hoist the Jolly Roger over the Bundesliga

Post categories:

Phil Minshull | 21:21 UK time, Monday, 3 May 2010

It's been a week of mixed emotions in Hamburg.

On one side of the city the fans of Hamburger SV are still bemoaning their lost opportunities last Thursday.

Rather than the Rothosen - red shorts - it will be Fulham who will contest the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid in their own Nordbank Arena on May 12 after Hamburg's 2-1 defeat at Craven Cottage.

However, in the areas down by the docks and the famous Reeperbahn, or should I say infamous depending on your point of view, there has been unrestrained joy over the last day or so from the fans of cross-city rivals FC St. Pauli.

stpauli_blog_getty.jpgSt Pauli have been immortalised in a Blur song - photo: Getty

The smiles are not just because of the Craven Cottage comeuppance of Hamburg, the club that famously beat Juventus 1-0 to win the European Cup in 1983, but after a 4-1 away win at Furth on Sunday, arguably Europe's most atypical professional club are heading back to the Bundesliga after an absence of eight years.

More than 9,000 St Pauli fans followed their team to Furth and, as happily pointed out by German newspapers on Monday, peacefully invaded the pitch after the final whistle, while more than 10,000 people congregated on the Reeperbahn.

What a better way to celebrate your centenary than with a promotion back to the top tier of German football?

St Pauli, resplendent in their rather unusual brown kit - now how many teams can you name that have regularly played in that colour - and their supporters in their Jolly Roger totenkopf - skull and crossbones - attire are now set to wreak their own particular brand of fun and mayhem when they visit the comparatively staid surroundings of Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen next season.

Words like eccentric or odd are often used in the context of St Pauli but results have still to be achieved on the pitch so The Buccaneers of the League, as they are often known, are not really football's answer to the Harlem Globetrotters.

However, there is a certain attitude and atmosphere that surrounds St Pauli.

The best way to describe them might be just to say that they are different.

Even though the club has been around in its current form since 1910, a unique identity has emerged over the last quarter of their existence.

"St Pauli opens its home matches with AC/DC's Hells' Bells, and after every home goal Song 2 by Blur is played, turning the stadium into a giant mosh pit," says Wikipedia. "St. Pauli is also a worldwide symbol for punk and related subcultures."

"It was in the mid-'80s that St. Pauli's transition from a traditional club into a 'Kult' club began... An alternative fan scene emerged built around left-leaning politics and the 'event' and party atmosphere of the club's matches.

"Importantly, St. Pauli became the first team in Germany to officially ban right wing, nationalist activities and displays in its stadium in an era when Fascist inspired football hooliganism threatened the game across Europe."

The promotion comes at an appropriate time as St Pauli are expanding their Millerntor-Stadion to 27,000 in order to accommodate their ever increasing fan base.

naki_blog_getty.jpg St Pauli's Deniz Naki celebrates promotion to the Bundesliga with the club's supporters - photo: Getty

St Pauli have been in the Bundesliga before, managing to stay in the top flight for three years between 1988-1991, while the club had a brief stint in the Bundesliga in the 2001-02 season.

Sadly, it wasn't a glorious swashbuckling ride on the pitch as they finished bottom and by a very long way, having only won four games that season.

They slid through the 2. Bundesliga the following season in similar fashion and then spent four years in the regional third tier - the Regionalliga Nord - before starting their climb back up.

There are a few signs that St Pauli is finally having to join the 21st century; perhaps in the same way that punk icon Iggy Pop is now doing adverts for insurance companies.

Do I hear the words 'Sold Out' being uttered by some radical elements?

Club legend Holger Stanislawski, who has been a player, sports director vice-president and is now their coach, told German newspapers after Sunday's game, "St Pauli can't afford to be a social utopia anymore."

They are moving to new training facilities in 2012, and the current clubhouse where fans and players still mingle together for a coffee or beer - imagine that at any other first division club across Western Europe - may just become a distance memory.

Sponsors have increased the club budget to around €40m (£34.6m) so regular and frantically solicited injections of emergency cash from friends in the theatre world of club president Corny Littmann who, coincidently, is openly gay, are no longer necessary.

Stanislawski has also warned that if he's still the coach in July, and several other clubs are believed to have already made bids for his services, then sentiment could be in short supply.

Familiar faces who have been with the club since its days languishing in Regionalliga Nord look set to be shown the door and while Stanislawski has promised loyalty to many of the players who have got them back in the Bundesliga, he has said that three or four signings are inevitable.

Nevertheless, if St Pauli do lose a modicum of their charm as commercial reality bites, they should still bring a lot of fun to the Bundesliga next season.

Comments on this blog in the space provided. Other questions on European football to: europeanfootball@hotmail.co.uk. I don't need your full address but please put the town/city and country where you come from.

Here's a couple from the postbag relating to Barcelona and Inter Milan.

Q) Why did Barca get rid off Samuel Eto'o, or why did Eto'o leave Barca ? They were the best match. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not of Barca's quality and he has been struggling to come to terms with the league. Ahad Shaukat, Karachi, Pakistan

A) I wouldn't agree with your comment that Ibrahimovic 'is not of Barca's quality'. At the start of the season he was scoring regularly and despite Barca paying over-the-odds for him, he was doing well on the field. However, injuries and a subsequence loss-of-confidence have lead to a dramatic decline in his productivity over the second half of the season. It will be interesting to see, with the summer to rest and get fully fit again as Sweden are not going to South Africa, whether he can recapture his best form. It's quite well known that Guardiola got rid of Eto'o because of a clash of personalities but, taking a season-long view, it's clear that Inter got the best of the deal.

Q) When will Uefa step in and say enough is enough when it comes to the harassment that the Inter players and coach are going through? I just read that Mourinho's car was attacked by Barcelona fans and I believe it is simply unacceptable. No protection is being given to a visiting team. Obed Schacht, Malmo, Sweden

A) Unfortunately, although I don't have statistics on this, this seems to happen more often in Spain and Italy than in countries like Britain and Germany. It's down to home clubs to liaise with public authorities and the local police to ensure that a visiting team's security is ensured. The solution to me is very simple, national federations, for domestic fixtures, and Uefa for European fixtures should impose sanctions if security is compromised.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 11:42pm on 03 May 2010, Juan in Florida wrote:

    Excellent article and congrats to St. Pauli. I think, however, that you should have mentioned some of the, ahem, "ladies," who kept St. Pauli afloat through voluntary donations from their salaries.

    Also, regarding fan control in the stadiums, you seem to conveniently forget the incidents during Milwall-West Ham and Monday's events during Luton-York.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 06:57am on 04 May 2010, simoninlondon wrote:

    shouldn't that be "wreak their own particular brand of fun", not "reek"?

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 07:09am on 04 May 2010, AntonioSaucedo wrote:

    Interesting article on St.Pauli. Let's hope they do better this time.

    And thank you for defending the unfairly maligned Ibra. He's one of the top 5 players in the world in spite of his rocky season.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 07:36am on 04 May 2010, hackerjack wrote:

    And thank you for defending the unfairly maligned Ibra. He's one of the top 5 players in the world in spite of his rocky season.
    --------------

    He's barely in the top 5 at Barca never mind in the world. Messi, Iniesta and Xavi are far better players.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 07:50am on 04 May 2010, prussianpark wrote:

    "Sponsors have increased the club budget to around €40m (£34.6m) so regular and frantically solicited injections of emergency cash from friends in the theatre world of club president Corny Littmann who, coincidently, is openly gay, are no longer necessary".

    Eh? What is coincidence about that? Seems to me like a poor excuse to shoe-horn the fact that he is gay into the article when it's got nothing to do with anything.

    Anyway, congratulations on the promotion to St. Pauli, cannot wait until 15 May when FC United of Manchester play them in Hamburg.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 08:27am on 04 May 2010, Norge10 wrote:

    I have to agree with hackerjack on the subject of Ibrahimovic. There is no way he is in the top 5 players in the world. I think he's a talented player and he is capable of some outrageous skill (just YouTube him for evidence of that...one goal for Ajax in particular was incredible) but to be one of the best players in the world you need to be consistent i.e. be fantastic week in, week out. That's what separates the best players i.e. Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo (who are superb all season, every season) from the very good players i.e. Ibrahimovic, Robben.

    Too often I have seen games where Ibra has totally disappeared. I don't like his attitude much either.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 08:28am on 04 May 2010, shearer96 wrote:

    "Corny Littmann who, coincidently, is openly gay, are no longer necessary"

    Coincidently? Openly gay? What's that all about? Why are we informed of this man's sexuality and not that of anyone else mentioned in the article?

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 08:36am on 04 May 2010, Mikey wrote:

    # 5.... he has made a point of including this because one of the Saint Pauli fans stances revolves around being anti-homophobic.. and it is very unusual for someone to be openly gay in football even in this day and age.. Just look at the attention the rugby players received.. something most free thinking people call a normal way of life got media scrutiny..

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 08:42am on 04 May 2010, KACBID wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 10. At 08:54am on 04 May 2010, Redthemadsheep2001 - LUHG wrote:

    The White John Barnes - establishment journo wrote:

    A horrible, rotten to the core club. Looking forward to their relegation next season.

    Hopefully Hamburg are the team that relegate them :)
    ==================================================

    why are they so rotten? or are you just a hamburg fan being a little bitter about them?

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 09:25am on 04 May 2010, lee hutchison wrote:

    It's safe to say comment number 9 comes from a Rangers fan, someone who takes issue with St. Pauli over their well known links with Celtic and their fans. Celtic even sell St. Pauli products in their stores and many of their fans are often seen wearing their colours.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 09:30am on 04 May 2010, LeonDancingBear wrote:

    Cracking read!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 09:30am on 04 May 2010, Charlie wrote:

    Very insightful article, nice to hear about something outside of the top 5 in Europe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, crippledsheep wrote:

    I get the impression that left-leaning readers will enjoy this article and right-leaning readers will not have appreciated its celebratory tone.

    Personally, I find it extremely refreshing to read about a team like St Pauli. The club's ethos, and its president's open sexuality, are anomalies in the sport. That is why both are worthy of an article like this, whatever one's personal views.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 09:44am on 04 May 2010, Ted_Breakfast wrote:

    See what your all saying about the gay comment, but in fairness to Phil I think he was just trying to highlight another of the differences at St Pauli to other clubs. The fans of the club are famous for their left wing, anti racist, anti nationlist, anti sexist, anti homophobic philosophy. In football we know its not common to have openly gay people involved but at St Pauli you know with the how they are that this isn't a problem and just accepted there, where at other clubs it might be more of a big deal. I think Phil was just trying to highlight this,

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 09:49am on 04 May 2010, Hibs-Beer-CoD-Girlfriend in that order wrote:

    Really good article. It seems such a strange club as it's attitude is so different to nearly every other club but it's refreshing.

    However should you really be quoting "facts" from Wikipedia?

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 09:52am on 04 May 2010, ShakyItOnBabyNow wrote:

    Great article! As a former resident of Hamburg and considering myself a 'neutral' in German football, I went to watch both HSV and St Pauli. Going to see Pauli is easily the most unique experience in football. Cracking atmosphere. The original article mentions Song 2 playing every time they score, but it omits the fact that you are also subjected to a beer shower after everyone in the crowd lobs their beer cup in the air (luckily the beer is pretty cheap!).

    Really pleased to see them back in the Bundesliga. Away supporters will also like their post-match visit to the Reeperbahn......

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 09:53am on 04 May 2010, Dazz wrote:

    Well clearly Eto'o is a far better striker than Ibrahimovic both in terms of sheer number of goals scored, assists and holding up the ball. He has also been consistent over the years and crucially has the stomach for big games just like Drogba (scoring in two separate Champions League finals and ending up on the winning side attests to this).

    I'm a Man United fan and I know there are separate feelings in my gut when I see Ibra's name on the opposing teamsheet and when I see Drogba or Eto'o there!

    Drogba or Torres are the names I dread to see most...those guys are unforgiving. They will punish even the slightest error, everytime. I am quite happy to see Ibra or Berbatov on the opposing teamshet!

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 10:04am on 04 May 2010, petesherwood wrote:

    I was as surprised as many of the readers posting here to see the comment about Littmann's sexuality without any explanation as to why this may be relevant.
    Whilst I take #15's point, I think the real reason Phil Minshull included that information in this blog is that he has lifted all the background information directly from the St Pauli wikipedia page. Almost word for word in some cases.
    Top reporting Phil - and thanks BBC!

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 10:07am on 04 May 2010, Matt Dalton wrote:

    I have drunk in the Jolly Roger pub! When Frankfurt played at Hamburg earlier in the season )a boring 0-0 draw!) I travelled up with the Frankfurt fans on a coach to watch the match. It was a bit of a crazy day with drinking starting on the coach at 6am and after the match we all piled into the Jolly Roger pub until around 1am as the St Pauli fans had kindly agreed to let us have their pub for the night. It was a cracking atmosphere!

    http://www.the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 10:17am on 04 May 2010, henj wrote:

    Hi Phil,
    great blog, but sorry you missed that very special St. Pauli fans-friendship with Celtic! That alone would be worth an article - not least for your british readers...

    Cheers

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 10:57am on 04 May 2010, TM wrote:

    Hey great blogging Phil.

    I guess the omen is on a Fulham to do well. They've already been there this seasn and they didn't loose. So i'm going for a Fulham win, come rain, shine or ash clouds

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 11:00am on 04 May 2010, Geoff wrote:

    #20 interesting post. Did you witness any trouble at all during your trip? The reason I ask is that I was at the Frankfurt-Hoffenheim game on Saturday. Things got, lets say, a little 'spicy' after the game.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 11:01am on 04 May 2010, playunextyear wrote:

    Re. #16. Frankly there's not a lot in the blog that I couldn't have learned from Wikipedia, except for the club's promotion triumph and its consequent issues for the future which the Wiki author hasn't got round to addressing yet. Still at least Phil has brought this lovable (some say) club to the attention of British fans, and kudos to the Beeb website for including it on the homepage instead just of the Europe page.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 11:21am on 04 May 2010, DonHorne wrote:

    @#7 Shearer96 - please read post #14, how many openly homosexuals can you name within football? I bet you could count them on one hand...

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 11:28am on 04 May 2010, rhyso wrote:

    And thank you for defending the unfairly maligned Ibra. He's one of the top 5 players in the world in spite of his rocky season.

    -----------------

    That's absolute nonsense. I do not agree with Phil's belief that Ibrahimovic is of Barcelona quality. I would say he is of Spanish league quality i.e. he can score goals against Xerez and Osasuna but he very rarely seems to deliver on the big occasion. To me, the Spanish league seems to becoming more and more like the SPL with two teams dominating and winning most games comfortably. I would agree with Arsene Wenger's statement of a few weeks back when he said that any top player with real motivation would not move to one of the big two in Spain.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 11:37am on 04 May 2010, Brinski wrote:

    I occasionally go to games in Germany and was at the match in Fürth. I have to say the pitch invasion was amazing, very peaceful with everybody just wanting to celebrate promotion together without a trace of provocation. Great atmosphere, great fans and a great club, well done St. Pauli, good luck in the Bundesliga.

    Nie mehr zwiete Liga!

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 11:44am on 04 May 2010, L-M-R FC wrote:

    not into that whole playing music when goals are scored thing. very american. the fans should be making the noise not the speakers

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 11:53am on 04 May 2010, Jacky Ickx wrote:

    "attire are now set to reek their own particular brand "

    what does this mean???

    surely its WREAK???

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 12:10pm on 04 May 2010, Jumpers wrote:

    # Is there any team the self proclaimed Greatest Fans in the World (Celtic) don't have a special relationship with, apart from the obvious.

    The article is about St Pauli and has hee haw to do with runners up of the SPL.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 12:21pm on 04 May 2010, U14357625 wrote:

    It was an incredible bit of business by Inter in the summer, obtaining a huge transfer fee and the superior Eto'o in exchange for the overrated Ibrahimovic. Barcelona will need another striker in the summer.

    As for St Pauli, they are well known in Scotland as their fans have had close links with Celtic fans for a number of years.

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 12:32pm on 04 May 2010, Barcelona_Ole wrote:

    #26

    How about his winning goal against Real Madrid? Does that not constitute a big occasion? People are too quick to jump on him and Berba's back - they are both quality players although as #18 says, not as good as Torres and Drogba.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 12:45pm on 04 May 2010, Dazz wrote:

    Ibrahimovic does remind you of Berbatov - stupendously talented when it does not really matter; missing when you need him most!

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 12:45pm on 04 May 2010, FlangeGerrard wrote:

    Congratulations to st pauli, a great club unlike that horrible hamburg bunch

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 12:58pm on 04 May 2010, TenAcresLane wrote:

    It's a shame you didn't mention that FC United of Manchester will be playing them in a friendly in a couple of weeks:

    http://www.fcstpauli.com/magazin/artikel.php?artikel=6338&type=2&menuid=57&topmenu=57

    http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/story.php?story_id=2673

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 1:09pm on 04 May 2010, tigershuffle wrote:

    @rob_LFC_fairbairn
    If youve ever been or just watched on tv you will see that football in Germany is for the most part aimed at entertaining the fans. The home crowd cheer on the subs usually chanting the surname after the announcer gives just the first name. Thw whole atmostphere at a lot of games seems so vibrant compared to the sterile atmosphere at a lot of Prem Clubs (Pompey apart)
    The home team nearly always stay on the pitch to applaud the supporters win or lose. Something which would be nice to see in the Premier League as a lot seem keen to make a dash for the tunnel at the whistle or are too busy just congratulating themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 1:13pm on 04 May 2010, Gladbachsaint wrote:

    Well Done St Pauli - from the British Borussen BMG.

    Gladbach v St Pauli will be some party game :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 1:15pm on 04 May 2010, Weehills wrote:

    Great news that St Pauli are back in the big time!!
    Was once at one of their home games and it was the best fun that I ever had watching football, the singing stand was unreal with the atmosphere just brilliant and you cannot help joining into the chanting !!!

    In addition, what an experience to sit in the club and have the players walks by and chat to the fans before the game and join in with the pre-match fun also.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 1:15pm on 04 May 2010, jellywobble wrote:

    I was lucky enough to see St Pauli play 1860 Munich in the Munich Olympiastadion when they had their brief flirt with the 1.Bundesliga in 2001. What stuck with me was how anarchic and fanatical their fans really were, with overriding memory being of thousands of drunk, crusty Hells Angels who had come along for the beer and the craic as much as the football, with piercings, bandanas and black leather jackets with studs in them! Great fun, and I wish them all the best in the top flight next season....

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 1:19pm on 04 May 2010, Robbie wrote:

    Great article,

    Not sure Juan was 100% sure what you meant about football trouble. I agree Millwall and west ham had issues, and think the trouble at Luton and Shef wed are pretty rare occurance in England, whereas the issues in Spain with racism and Italy with violence is well known. The point being that the issues might not be 100% gone but it is far less violent that the two countries mentioned and a great achievement from the violence back in the 70's 80's.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 1:29pm on 04 May 2010, Black_wood wrote:

    When Celtic played in Hamburg recently i was shocked to see on TV a huge Union Flag across one stand which said NO SURRENDER. At first i thought it was a misguided and crass attempt to insult their visitors. When i learned that a team called St Paul was their smaller neighbours i wasn't so sure. I have no time for either of the Old Firm, but its depressing if Hamburg fans try to mimic such hatred and all of its consequences. Religious bigotry is not something to be proud of.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 1:33pm on 04 May 2010, Spursbeard wrote:

    Hi Phil, good blog - interesting to hear about something other than the big clubs. Just wondered about the caption to the first photo - which Blur song have St Pauli been mentioned in? Are you sure you're not thinking of "St Pauli" by Art Brut? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB05ba9-_xI

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 1:36pm on 04 May 2010, Stewart McCartney wrote:

    Not a bad weekend of football... My home town club York City in the Conference Play-off final, The team I followed when living in London in the Europa final, My fave Greek team PAOK in the playoffs, Steve McLaren (I was at school with him) winning the Dutch title and then the magnificent St. Pauli back in the Budesliga! Wonder what will happen in the election?

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 1:44pm on 04 May 2010, Pendledene wrote:

    I live and work in Hamburg and was happily suprised to read this on the BBC site. St. Pauli football club and their fans are fantastic. They truely support the sport at what ever the level their play. The ground and it's atmosphere are unique and a return to league football is long overdue. Good luck. If anyone ever has the chance to visit then do so as the game and after drinks nearby will be something not to be forgotten.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 1:58pm on 04 May 2010, Eamonf86 wrote:

    congratulations to st pauli!
    the hospitality of their fans when we were in hamburg for the celtic match was outstanding! great ppl hope they do well next season

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 2:02pm on 04 May 2010, CTP wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 47. At 2:04pm on 04 May 2010, Fraggle Rock wrote:

    St Pauli is probably one of Germany's most famous clubs, but it's not really about the football though is it? St Pauli as a symbol isn't a football club, it's a political point of view. Take only the May Day demonstrations in Berlin which I was at. Everywhere you looked there was St pauli t-shirts and symbols. How many of these people actually like football, I wonder?

    While this article accentuates everything that is great about Pauli, there's some negatives. I went in the away end at both Cottbus-Pauli and Cottbus-Union Berlin (I support both Berlin and Pauli) and the differences were stark. Union fans (famed for working for free to help rebuild their own stadium) were of all ages, and the chants simply surrounded the team, while Pauli fans were mostly young adults and their chants were very funny, less to do with football, and several were politically motivated. Chanting "Allierte, Allierte Antifaschiste" is as familiar to St Pauli fans as it is rioters on May 1. Same goes for singing anti-police songs. While I wouldn't say football seemed like a side point to Pauli fans, it definitely wasn't as strong as with the Union fans

    Anyone who rejects the politicalisation of Rangers v. Celtic and the politication of football in general (especially through ultra culture) should theorically reject St Pauli as a concept, even if these guys are supporting seemingly noble causes (Anti-Homophobia etc.)

    The other point is the policalisation of the club brings the extreme left-wing element to the club. While this article is keen the stress the fun nature of the club, a quick youtube of St Pauli fans behaviour against arch-rivals (and with a Neo-Nazi element) Hansa Rostock last November will find certain fans are less than fun, less than friendly and less than peaceful.

    My political beliefs dictate that I have, and always will have, a soft spot for St Pauli and will always wish them well. I am also happy political beliefs are so strong in that part of Hamburg the club has flourished and become the symbol of a district, but I can't help but believe that as a lover of football, football is being distorted by being politised and Pauli is just one part of that. Hence I'll always support a true football club like Union Berlin first and St Pauli will always come in second.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 2:38pm on 04 May 2010, lee hutchison wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 49. At 2:42pm on 04 May 2010, der verlorene Sohn wrote:

    Nice to see St Pauli get a mention, just too bad that so much of it came from Wikipedia.

    I've had the chance to watch quite a few St Pauli games over the last few years and it has always been a great atmosphere. It does bring together the most unlikely combination of fans: punks, bikers, students, families, etc. (Not to say that these "groups" are mutually exclusive!)

    Yes it's true that the club are trying to get it's house in order financially, but they are still keen to keep hold of as much of their non-corporate identity as possible. This is perhaps also reflected in their new stadium — being built stand by stand on its existing site — whcih is designed to resemble the old 4-tier stadia typical in the UK as opposed to the bland modern multi-purpose stadia. The only downside is that it may no longer be possible to simply walk in to the stadium during the week to sit in the stands and read a book!

    Hopefully they have learnt the lessons after their last promotion and will refrain from signing too many players on wages that become extremely problematic in the not-so-unlikely event that they get relegated. Fortunately Stani is making all the right noises and suggesting that he'll keep the core of the squad the same.

    My one criticism of this article is that Phil suggests that St Pauli come from one side of the city, while HSV come from the other. It's like comparing Watford with Chelsea in geographic terms! Any Hamburger knows that there is only one team in the heart of Hamburg and that is Sankt Pauli! HSV are a "Greater Hamburg" team...any further west and HSV would no longer be in Hamburg but in Schleswig-Holstein!

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 2:45pm on 04 May 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 51. At 3:05pm on 04 May 2010, Diarmuid Pepper wrote:

    If the author of this blog sees fit to quote wikipedia, well then I also am going to quote wikipedia, to firmly put to rest all this talk of celtic "claiming yet another foreign team."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FC_St._Pauli#Club_culture

    St. Pauli are also known for their close links with many other foreign clubs, enjoying a particularly close friendship with Celtic with St. Pauli fans attending Celtic games on the continent when Celtic play UEFA competitions. St. Pauli flags and scarves are frequently seen on display at Celtic Park, and the official Celtic stores sell St. Pauli merchandise. Every year Celtic supporters arrive in Hamburg for the annual St. Pauli – Celtic Festival.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 3:09pm on 04 May 2010, Mat wrote:

    Nice article Phil. Always nice to see St Pauli get a mention in the UK.

    As an expat living in Hamburg, they're certainly a breath of fresh air from the EPL. It's quite an experience mixing with a complete cross section of society and being able to have a beer while watching the game.

    As well as the FC United game you might also have mentioned the friendly against Celtic later this month and the Brownstock festival arranged by Aston Villa & Birmingham City fans in 2004:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/features/2004/11/st_pauli/st_pauli.shtml

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 3:18pm on 04 May 2010, rony wrote:

    Ibra is one of the most overrated player in world football today. Being a Barca fan, never liked the way they got rid off Eto for Ibra. And the money they paid in addition was insane. I do believe they'd have better chances in Champions league this season if Eto was there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 3:23pm on 04 May 2010, Jumpers wrote:

    #50 No there isn't, You can run but you can't hide....we welcome the chase !!

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 3:28pm on 04 May 2010, JoC wrote:

    Fantastic blog Phil..whether or not people agree or disagree with St.Pauli's 'Lone Wolf' ethos it's great to see that clubs like theirs have at least developed one!

    In a time when the majority of clubs crave corporate similarity/parity with similar modern stadia and set-ups it's a pleasure to see someone's still capable of breaking the mould and embracing a cultural identity they can claim to be their own.

    I hope regaining their Bundesliga status in their centenary year doesn't dilute their sense of 'individuality' and would like to ask you and other contributers who they think would benefit most from setting out a similar 'sub-culture' image in the English Premier league...possibly the likes of Stoke City?

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 3:33pm on 04 May 2010, tomefccam wrote:

    6. At 08:27am on 04 May 2010, Norge10 wrote:
    I have to agree with hackerjack on the subject of Ibrahimovic. There is no way he is in the top 5 players in the world. I think he's a talented player and he is capable of some outrageous skill (just YouTube him for evidence of that...one goal for Ajax in particular was incredible) but to be one of the best players in the world you need to be consistent i.e. be fantastic week in, week out. That's what separates the best players i.e. Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo (who are superb all season, every season) from the very good players i.e. Ibrahimovic, Robben.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Herein lies the problem, you are basing an opinion on Champions League Football and Youtube.

    Ibrahimovic is a colossal player, who's form unfortunately has been in fits and starts for Barcelona. He was overwhelmigly the best player in Serie A for three seasons. But as Serie A is not as widely covered in this country as La Liga, people base their opinions on the snippets they see and not a full season of performances.

    Let's not forget, Wayne Rooney did not score in the champions league for a couple of years at one point...but I bet those people who watched him still saw the performances he was putting in for Man Utd on a weekly basis. It is simple to watch the Media hype around Messi and join in, but he was just as anonymous in the 2 legs as Zlatan

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 3:34pm on 04 May 2010, Brendan wrote:

    Well done St. Pauli congratulations on your return to the big time!!! From all the Celtic family, a club we all admire and supporters even we envy!!!! We love you! We love you! and where you go we follow!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 3:42pm on 04 May 2010, der verlorene Sohn wrote:

    @49

    You say that "[a]nyone who rejects the politicalisation of Rangers v. Celtic and the politication of football in general (especially through ultra culture) should theorically reject St Pauli as a concept, even if these guys are supporting seemingly noble causes (Anti-Homophobia etc.)"

    Firstly, who has conceptualised St Pauli as a political club? I don't remember the board doing so, or even the majority of the fans doing so. The club was founded in 1910 with the stronger left-leaning element of its identity appearing in the last 25 years or so. Why would people reject the club because some of its fans share these beliefs? Also, Rangers-Celtic cannot simply be reduced to a political issue; in fact, given the strong religious overtones it is more of a cultural issue than political.

    You also write that "the club brings the extreme left-wing element to the club."

    The club DOES NOT actively bring an extreme left-wing element to the club, but is situated in an area that has been a hotspot for left-wing activists. As for the Rostock rivalry, that is not supported by the club's hierarchy either. As you mention yourself, it will be "certain fans" who are determined to cause trouble.

    As for your assertion that Union Berlin is a "true football club" as opposed to St Pauli bemuses me. Perhaps you can explain what a "true football club"?

    It was also amusing to see you mention the anti-police songs, the three police officers I know in Hamburg are St Pauli fans...when they're not at the games in riot gear, they are in the stands cheering on their team!

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 3:52pm on 04 May 2010, bob wrote:

    As an Englishman living in Germany, I'm glad that St Pauli have been promoted, despite supporting a local rival (Bremen), as their fans are great fun, often dance for the entire match, and wave flags with "flags are stupid" written on them (in German obviously). Their fans are also less prone, in my experience, to thoughtless aggression than their better financed neighbours, (e.g HSV fans pelting their own players with bottles)!

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 3:53pm on 04 May 2010, Jumpers wrote:

    # 56
    Granted Zlatan may have been the real deal in Serie A but everytime I see him he flatters to deceive. I don't honestly believe anyone could seriously rate this guy in the same bracket as Messi, Ronaldo or Rooney.

    And as for him being just as anonymous in the 2 legs of the recent CL semi final sorry but I can't agree with that either. In the 2nd leg Messi forced the Inter keeper to produce a wonder save at the end of the first half and then near the end of the game crossed an inch perfect ball onto the head of Bojan who should have scored, Zlatan's contribution was what???

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 4:06pm on 04 May 2010, ppKlvs wrote:

    it just happens that I read the wikipedia article about St. Pauli yeasterday. This "article" adds no new information - except from the coach demands - and quotes extensively such a factual source of data as wikipedia. It's so easy to be a blogger in these days!

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 4:17pm on 04 May 2010, MadMilburn wrote:

    Great to hear St.Pauli getting promoted and should (when?) they go straight back down am sure the fans will have some fun regardless

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 4:27pm on 04 May 2010, smokybeckham wrote:

    Unfortunately, I have got to agree with many of the other posts. Much of this post is pure plagiarism, and what's more its plagiarism from wikipedia! Are there not such journalistic rules about this? I mean at least the author could have 're-written' sections, instead 'cut and paste' seems to have been employed.

    I even think the error about the Blur song is due to the author mistakenly viewing the wikipedia page and thinking he saw Blur when he actually saw the Brut part of the band Art Brut...

    Don't get me wrong it is great to read stuff about clubs such as St Pauli, but to think that the author gets paid to rip stuff off from a user based information website is very poor for the BBC standards...

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 4:29pm on 04 May 2010, Matt Dalton wrote:

    @ 23. At 11:00am on 04 May 2010, geoffers1979 wrote:
    #20 interesting post. Did you witness any trouble at all during your trip? The reason I ask is that I was at the Frankfurt-Hoffenheim game on Saturday. Things got, lets say, a little 'spicy' after the game.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not a lot to be honest. There was a fair amount of goading going on during the game between the fans and a handful of Hamburg fans got chucked out but after the match there was nothing. In fact, all the fans shared buses back in to the city to start the drinking!

    I think the Hoffenheim - Frankfurt situation is a little different to be honest. Most people in Germany seem to hate Hoffenheim because of what they represent and Frankfurt fans, in particular, really hate them. I am not at all surprised there was trouble between them!

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 4:30pm on 04 May 2010, Yorkshire Celt wrote:

    rob_LFC_fairbairn

    That was a rather dull comment. How is playing music "American"? The atmosphere at the games is great and dwarfs anything the "British" have to offer outside of an Old Firm match.

    Move along please, nothing to see from you obviously.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 4:31pm on 04 May 2010, Matt Dalton wrote:

    I forgot to add - I also went to a Hoffenheim game with a friend from work. The atmosphere in their ground was truly awful. It was proper armchair football! The away fans, Mainz who only had a couple of thousand there, made more noise through the whole game than the Hoffenheim fans!

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 4:31pm on 04 May 2010, Yorkshire Celt wrote:

    der verlorene Sohn

    Take a bow, son. Best post of the day.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 4:31pm on 04 May 2010, badcomputerkarma wrote:

    Nice article but you missed out on St Pauli´s proudest moment beating mighty Bayern 2-1 in 2002 thus entitling their fans to wear a t-shirt saying "World club champions-beaters". A few years later Bayern played a charity match up there to help save the then nearly bankrupt Paulianer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 4:39pm on 04 May 2010, tone1947 wrote:

    Having been working in Hamburg now for almost 5 years, I can say that my preference has always been St Pauli.
    I was there on Sunday eve after the game, and all the bars with big screens emptied onto the Reeperbahn(known as Kiez locally). There was such a party atmosphere that within minutes the traffic on the Kiez was brought to a standstill, almost like the WM 4 years ago, no need for any action from the police they just let it happen. Next Sunday will be a blast.
    Nearly all my friends in the bars I visit are all St Pauli fans, and all claim the club is the true club of Hamburg, whereas HSV is out at Stellingen.

    Having seen a lot of their games this season, I think they will struggle against tougher opposition, but you will never destroy their faith.

    Littman, the impresaario on the Kiez, has done great in last few seasons sorting out the finances of the club, and what he is now creating is a superb family club.

    I remember going in the clubhouse about 4 years ago, it was almost a wooden shack, as was the fan shop, but now, very different

    Heres to the celebrations this month

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 4:40pm on 04 May 2010, Grendel wrote:

    Ibra has hit 21 goals this season. Not bad for a supposedly terrible season. More than eto'o at inter.
    Going by the view that 'I watched x player once and he didn't perform' line of thought, both Drogba and Rooney have failed to show up on numerous occassions. It's always the same one-sided view, rooney does f-all against Bayern, but that's fine. Drogba was as useless against inter as ibra (or messi for that matter).

    But, I'm sure reasoned arguments won't stop people from dimissing one player for failing to 'turn up' but completely ignoring it when a player they like fails to turn up.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 4:41pm on 04 May 2010, Fraggle Rock wrote:

    @58:

    It is my opinion that when a rioter on May 1st wears a Sankt Pauli t-shirt, that politicises the club. When a left wing shop in Berlin sells Sankt Pauli stickers, that politicises the club. As long as the symbol of Sankt Pauli is seen as being associated with someone who is left-wing is the club policical. I'm not arguing the hierarchy encourage it or anything, I'm saying that is what has developed.

    I never said Celtic-Rangers was just a political issue. It is most certainly a cultural issue as well, but the politics of Northern Ireland influence the fans.

    The left-wing element of Sankt Pauli did only spring up in the last 25 years, but I believe people are attracted to Sankt Pauli because of their beliefs. And a lot of people (friends of mine) dispise Sankt Pauli because they believe politics should not be a part of football. That's their main reason. Whether people were alienated or not, I don't know. I can't say. But when a club jumps from average attendances of 5,000 or something to 30,000 in a handful of years, I can't imagine many were left behind.

    I never meant the club actively invites extreme-leftists into the club. That's not at all even hinted at. But I don't believe these extreme-leftists would support St Pauli if it wasn't for how the club is viewed on the political sprectrum.

    With regards the "certain fans" comment, you brush that off as if all clubs have "certain fans". I don't believe that's the case and the fact that Pauli-Rostock has been probably the most dangerous derby in Germany in recent years (either than the lull period) is proof that Pauli fans have a problem with certain fans. And the fact the derby is motivated by right-wing groups within Hansa Rostock ultras is yet more proof of how policised Pauli is.

    I think a true football club (in this case that I meant) is a club in which its fans go to support the team, because they love football and the club and that is simply all. With Pauli I believe a lot of people go to the game, not motivated by football but politics and the whole fun-character of the team. Once again there is youtube vids to back that up.

    With regards three policemen cheering Pauli, that doesn't exonerate the 500/600 USP people who sang anti-police songs for at least 30 minutes in the away end in Cottbus. It's what I heard and I havn't heard that from any other football fans and I've been to quite a lot of grounds in Germany.

    Ps I still actually like St Pauli :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 5:00pm on 04 May 2010, Pendledene wrote:

    # 41. The Union Jack can often be found worldwide at any football match, not always because some expat is there or that the home fans are trying to insult their visitors in any form (thats very nearly paranoia).
    HSV & St. Pauli Fans often use the flag and the reference to NO SURRENDER is in no way any means to warrant or mimic hatred of any kind. Especially as stated: "I have no time for either of the Old Firm, but its depressing if Hamburg fans try to mimic such hatred and all of its consequences. Religious bigotry is not something to be proud of".
    I have often been to both grounds and there is no hatred to each other or visitors, wherever they may come from.
    NO SURRENDER merely implies that their team players will give everything on the pitch to win the game, nothing else.
    How anyone can infer that Hamburg Fans try to mimic hatred from the other side of the 'box' is incredible.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 5:04pm on 04 May 2010, guyastral wrote:

    A big cheer for St Pauli! all my friends who live in Rostock are big St Pauli fans

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 5:11pm on 04 May 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #54

    #50 No there isn't, You can run but you can't hide....we welcome the chase !!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Run? You mean like the people you made 'friends' with in Manchester?!! I've even heard you do chases with yourselves if you can't find members of the public to pester just to get some practise!

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 5:11pm on 04 May 2010, SallinsDavey wrote:

    There's a lot of dewy-eyed nonsense written about St. Pauli. They've become a brand like any other football club. The big department stores (Karstadt, Galleria) now have nearly as much St. Pauli tat as they do Bayern.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 5:22pm on 04 May 2010, Mack wrote:

    #71 Fraggle Rock:

    I think it is hard to find football leagues that are completely devoid of Political statements. Celtic went to play in Hamburg and found a card section with the Union Jack and "No Surrender". You point to St Pauli v Rostock. You need more than ten fingers to count the club rivalries in Britain that routinely spill into some kind of violence either between supporters or directed at one side. Don't get me started on South America and the Ultras in Italy.

    Pick up a copy of Franklin Foer's "How Soccer explains the World". He does an interesting job examining certain fan bases, their philosophy and how they mirror globalization.

    I'm a Celtic supporter and wish the fans of St Pauli a successful return to the top flight. Politically we probably have some differences but any team that promotes true inclusion deserves somee kudos

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 5:23pm on 04 May 2010, NEARPOSTHEADER wrote:

    I have to say that the use of the 'totenkopf' symbol does seem at odds with what was said about the club - it was the emblem (and name) of the 2nd SS Panzer Division and all the Wehrmacht panzer regiments as a whole. Perhaps it might be better to drop it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 5:27pm on 04 May 2010, Mack wrote:

    Nearpostheader

    The "Jolly Rodger" that St Pauli uses is more in line with the standard flown by Caribbean pirates. The emblem used by SS Panzers is different.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 5:49pm on 04 May 2010, signori wrote:

    Its so typical that people no matter what the article is about seem to turn it into a Premier League contest or a X Vs X debate.......so boring and pathetic that it has to mention EPL every time,

    Well done St.Pauli.....great club, great traditions great fans and great history.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 6:36pm on 04 May 2010, Spaced Invader wrote:

    Signori - it is not the 'EPL', any more than its the Spanish La Liga or Italian Serie A. It is the Premier League.

    This in an article by the BBC (the first B stands for British incidentally) and consequently a high proportion of readers are English. Many of them are very familiar with the Premier League, so unsurprisingly their references to an article about St Pauli are often English-based.

    Take your ignorance and racism to another debate please.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 6:37pm on 04 May 2010, kenincatford wrote:


    Visiting a Bundesliga game is a terrific experience - I recommend it to anyone. Loved the article, St Pauli will clearly add colour to the top flight in Germany. Premier League clubs in England have a lot to learn from the fan-friendly Bundesliga - especially when it comes to match-day ticket prices.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 7:45pm on 04 May 2010, Phil Minshull wrote:

    I’m glad so many of you enjoyed my blog on St Pauli. To be honest, when they were in the third tier of German football a few years ago, I never thought I’d see them back in the Bundesliga so quickly, if at all.

    Some of you commented on the things that I’d missed out that made them so unusual or distinct, and you were right to do so. Perhaps only a book rather than an 800-900 word blog would do the club justice at this very moment in time.

    If anyone knows whether a book exists (whether it’s in German or English) that’s dedicated to St Pauli and its history, I’d certainly be very happy to know about it. Please post the details here as I'm sure there are plenty of other people who'd like to know as well.

    I didn’t mention the close links between St Pauli and Celtic, nor the famous win over Bayern in their 2001-02 campaign, because they are detailed on an extensively Wikipedia entry, to which I linked.

    By contrast, other people commented that I’d taken took much already from Wikipedia.

    For a blogger, trying to cover an issue and make it an attractive read for a broad audience getting the balance right is always going to be difficult.

    Spursbeard: “Just wondered about the caption to the first photo - which Blur song have St Pauli been mentioned in?” Well spotted. Blur’s Song 2 is actually played after St Pauli score goals at home. Wrists in London have been lightly slapped.

    This fact is also mentioned on Wikipedia but, hopefully avoiding further accusations of plagiarism (please note, my tongue was firmly in my cheek as I wrote that last phrase) that since I haven’t been to a St Pauli game for a number of years, I checked with a friend and apparently it is still being played in the Millerntor-Stadion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 7:53pm on 04 May 2010, AtlantaWhite wrote:

    As interesting as this article was, wouldn't it have been quicker just to give the link to the article most of it was lifted from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_pauli_fc

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 7:56pm on 04 May 2010, playunextyear wrote:

    Only a WW2-obsessed British poster could have written #77. There's only one group of people in Germany who would know which SS and Wehrmacht connections the death's head/Jolly Roger has. They are small in mind and thankfully small in number, few can write English, and they certainly wouldn't be seen dead at St Pauli's ground (on second thoughts, they might be seen dead there if they gave away their identity with the wrong kind of chant).
    It's quite possible that SP club and fans set out to systematically provoke the far right. "Braun" is political slang in Germany for neo-nazi, like Tories are blue in Britain, and brown is the colour of the St Pauli shirt. I think the St Pauli message to the far right might well be "look, we've stolen your symbols!"

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 8:12pm on 04 May 2010, Celtic_Pat_1888 wrote:

    as a celtic fan i was delighted when St Pauli were promoted back to the big time .

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 8:30pm on 04 May 2010, veni-vidi-vidic wrote:

    Fantastic, I knew nothing about this team 5 minutes ago. But I have now found a team to support in Germany!! I will be keeping an eye on them in the upcoming season! I might even see if I can wangle a match, my brother's stationed over there, and I'm sure I could squeeze it in during a visit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 8:41pm on 04 May 2010, Pendledene wrote:

    Get Real will you and either take more care in history lessons or read more facts rather than fiction.
    The Jolly Roger and the 'totenkopf' used by the nazis are NOT the same symbol. They may be similar because both portray a skull but that is all.
    The brown shirts were the "nazi thugs" running upto WWII in Germany all of who probably never even saw any combat action. The shade of brown was completely different to that the St. Pauli players wear.
    To say that: the St Pauli message to the far right might well be "look, we've stolen your symbols!" is an insult to the club, the players, the fans and the people of Hamburg.
    If anything the nazis stole all their symbols as each were in existance before they (the nazis) appeared on the historical front. The Swastika is a symbol which brings good fortune and still used today (e.g. at weddings) in many countires around the world. Just because it was 'mis'-used here in central europe does not mean that it has the same reaction world wide.
    Perhaps then it may be better to just to close all eyes and ban anything and everything and everywhere that may cause distress to specific persons at the cost of the rest of the world loose the correct use of that symbol. And all so that 'we' have a clear conscience and are politically correct. Instead of a ban, history should be taught and lessons learnt. A banned object, symbol (or even song) will just arouse the sought of interest and curiosity to attract peoples attention to something that is trying to be swept under the carpet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 8:43pm on 04 May 2010, bernhard2 wrote:

    Hi Phil, great article ! Thanx !
    You ask for a book that’s dedicated to St Pauli and its history.Best i know its "FC St. Pauli. Das Buch. Der Verein und sein Viertel"
    http://www.amazon.de/Pauli-Buch-Verein-sein-Viertel/dp/3455500986

    Greeting from Hamburg

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 9:07pm on 04 May 2010, Monjo wrote:

    Who cares? I suspect there's more unusual clubs in football.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 9:17pm on 04 May 2010, GigiBuffon1 wrote:

    Good article Phil. I'd heard about St Pauli's fans before, but it was nice to read something going into more detail.

    I hope we see more informative articles, away from the obvious subjects, like this this one in the future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 9:47pm on 04 May 2010, The-pen-is-mightier wrote:

    Whilst I won't join in the Ibrauselessovic/Wikipedia/politics debate, I will have to take you to task on some basic grammar Mr Phil:

    "....They slid through the 2. Bundesliga the following season..." & "...imagine that at any other first division club across Western Europe - may just become a distance memory...."

    Maybe I'm harsh on #1 but distance memory...come on!

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 9:56pm on 04 May 2010, buymespresso wrote:

    "Sponsors have increased the club budget to around €40m (£34.6m) so regular and frantically solicited injections of emergency cash from friends in the theatre world of club president Corny Littmann who, coincidently, is openly gay, are no longer necessary".

    That was a very weird way to say that someone's gay. Don't get me wrong - I'm always glad to see openly gay people in sport, and hope for the day that many GBLT footballers, etc can come out. But the word 'coincidence' what on earth does being gay have to do with begging for money?

    I wish there had been a different choice of photograph for the second one. I had to look to see that the player's fist was closed. Which is very unfair and prejudiced of me against the Germans, of course, since everyone knows (or should know) that such a gesture is illegal in Germany. (Hell, if Prince Harry had worn *that* costume in Germany, he would have been eligible for a jail sentence.)

    Thanks for the article - I'm heading off to see the wikipedia page on St Pauli now to see if I can find any more interesting tidbits in it. I'll probably need to read the English translation of the Germany version of their wiki entry though...

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 10:47pm on 04 May 2010, debatable wrote:

    @92 and others

    Appreciate that the gay comment sounds wrong, but to be fair to Phil,he might well have meant to write 'incidentally'

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 10:47pm on 04 May 2010, Werderwelf wrote:

    @Phil Minshull an others interested in the social history of FC St. Pauli:

    Here is a great dissertation linked on the homepage of the Übersteiger fanzine in English language about the club, where the story behind the jolly roger and nearly everything else will be explained.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 11:02pm on 04 May 2010, NEARPOSTHEADER wrote:

    playunextyear - so I'm a WW2-obsessed British poster? You assume a lot but know little. My point is that symbols are very powerful and people should think carefully about using them. Yes, the skull and crossbones is different to the death's head symbol, but they are VERY similar.
    Strange how some people always want to put another person down simply for having knowledge about something. Surely, in order to express an opinion, knowledge is required in the first place.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 11:27pm on 04 May 2010, playunextyear wrote:

    But my point, based on living in Germany for 16 years, is that your concern about these symbols is only relevant in Britain. If St Pauli do consciously skirt with German taboos - and I only posed it as a question, not a fact - it's like the BNP trying to appropriate the Union Flag, but in reverse, with the progressive guys undermining and infuriating the browns. Far more effective than the official German government "Verbote", which only help the far right to portray themselves to sympathisers as the underdog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 01:34am on 05 May 2010, Big Funky wrote:

    Great blog Phil, such a pleasant change of pace from the other, club-centric journalist at the BBC. Keep up the good work.

    I saw St Pauli play a couple of times in the early part of 2001, and their fans were the best I have ever seen. They sang songs in 5 different languages, I can’t see any club in the UK ever being able to say the same.

    Ich bin Retter!

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 02:35am on 05 May 2010, TrueBlue wrote:

    Excellent article on an eccentric club - and good luck to them in the top tier next year. A little unclear as to the necessity of the "openly gay" reference to the Chairman, I guess however we can safely assume that everyone else you've written about Phil is either heterosexual, or a "closet gay" ?

    Love to see the Celtic fans jumping on the bandwagon with their "special relationship" I just hope the fans of Liverpool, Barcelona and almost all of Italy don't get jealous as they believe themselves to be the "special" chums of Celtic.

    St Pauli are what football needs to bring a smile to everyone's faces - not to mention boosting the sales of Brown clothing - which let's face it has taken a bit of a hammering over the last few decades. Every country needs a St Pauli to smile at ..... we in Scotland have Celtic, which may in some way explain the Special Relationship !!

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 07:24am on 05 May 2010, kafkafil wrote:

    "Hi, I'm Phil Minshull. I've lived in Spain since 1997 and covered Spanish football since the first day I got here."

    Right, so what are you doing writing about St Pauli?

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 07:59am on 05 May 2010, Jeky wrote:

    Hi Phil,
    nice to read a BBC log about St. Pauli, we are still celebrating. And will continue for a few more days.

    Agree with #88 bernhard2, the best book you can imagine is "DAS BUCH", it covers everything that is to know about the last one hundred years.
    A winderful book and a must-have.

    http://www.amazon.de/Pauli-Buch-Verein-sein-Viertel

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 08:10am on 05 May 2010, Totenkopf21 wrote:

    I've been going to St Pauli games annually for six years, and in that time there have been a lot of necessary changes. The club has to change to accomodate it's increasing fan base (home matches are generally sold out, and even when in the Regionaliga Nord gates were sometimes in excess of 20 000). I'm sad to see some of these changes, like the old clubhouse and the Fan Shop in the portacabin adorned with anti-fascist graffiti and a huge Totenkopf, but in no way has the atmosphere and fan-ethos been diminished. For me it offers something that has been missing from British football for some time.

    As has been pointed out, the club initially didn't nurture or promote the political aspect of the club, it was simply an organic process. As I understand it a number of St Pauli residents squatted some apartments that were due to be developed, and as this resistence became more organised, the football club became a natural base for their operations. It is a fallacy to say the club are 'selling-out' as it is the fans that provide the counter-culture aspect (though of course the club have used this to their advantage over the years). I don't think stocking your shirts in sports stores across Germany is selling out, it's simply a way of making money (not obscene profit) for a club that for years has struggled to make ends meet.

    St Pauli's broad appeal, which some have criticised, is far removed from the world wide appeal of clubs such as Man Utd, Chelsea or Real Madrid. Rather than based on wealth and success it is all to do with the atmosphere and inclusion and the relationship between the club and the fans. The supporter club system that operates there is something I admire and believe English football could learn from (see the Fanladen website for more info).

    I'll be at the game on Sunday and celebrating promotion (maybe even the 2. Bundesliga title) is going to be something special.

    Viva Sankt Pauli!

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 09:08am on 05 May 2010, alanm wrote:

    They got promoted in the early 90s too - I spent a great year watching them in Hamburg and drink my tea from a St Pauli mug to this day.

    And as a Fulham supporter I'm having a rather good year!

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 10:12am on 05 May 2010, collie21 wrote:

    Nice article but other than them banning the right wing, having an odd colour kit, and a gay chairman ( Watford anyone? ) I don't really get why they come under the banner odd. I don't really get why you had to point out their chairman was gay either, but I will take it as you put forward, that they seem to be a mix of Kinnears Crazy Gang and ....well Watford.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 10:22am on 05 May 2010, Felix Rattan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 105. At 10:34am on 05 May 2010, collie21 wrote:

    What a pity, I was trying to figure out how living in Spain would get you the insight to talk about a German Club and assumed you had a least been to a match. I gather from the comments, you did a copy paste job from a wiki, and didn't bother your backside doing any more research or spell checking.
    Can I have your job?
    The comments are far more insightful and informative than the blog. Shame on you mate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 10:46am on 05 May 2010, U11846789 wrote:

    I admire and support what StPauli stand for - politically speaking - but, that said, I think that politics and sport should ALWAYS be kept apart.

    Good luck to the club in the Bundesliga!

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 10:51am on 05 May 2010, Brian wrote:

    St Pauli have a philosophy that is based entirely around inclusion. They welcome everyone to the club, provided you also share that belief in inclusion. They will be a breath of fresh air in the top flight and I only hope they can remain there for an extended period.

    In the absence of any possibility of European football for their own team over recent years, many St. Pauli fans have chosen to follow Celtic in their European campaigns. Having travelled many times to watch Celtic in Europe, I must say that these guys are among the nicest, and most knowledgeable, football fans you could ever hope to meet. I would be delighted if they were successful enough to qualify for Europe and allow us to return the compliment.

    Celtic have a friendly with St Pauli on 18th May and I will be fulfilling a long held ambition to visit the Millerntor Stadion and watch St Pauli play at home. I expect nothing but a football party and will be delighted to help them celebrate enthusiastically both their promotion and their centenary.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 11:25am on 05 May 2010, The Dirty Tackle wrote:

    Hi Phil,

    Excellent and interesting article on St Pauli, good to see they're back in the top-flight again.

    I wonder if KFC Uerdingen will make a Lazarus-esque comeback in the next decade after the turmoil they've been through.

    I used to have a German friend who raved about STP, said there had been crazy moments in the ground, but he loved going - beats any atmosphere we can generate here in the UK.

    Cheers,
    TDT

    http://www.thedirtytackle.blogspot.com

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 11:52am on 05 May 2010, JM wrote:

    When St.Pauli come to the Schuco Arena in Bielefeld they are amazing fans-Always light hearted chants -Makes me laugh always when they chant "HIV"(HSV its meant to mean).They have great fans and are an example to football.No violence and the fans are great to talk to.

    I hope they will do well next yr and wish them well.

    Hopefully they will beat the arrogant HSV+Bayern next yr!

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 12:18pm on 05 May 2010, Fraggle Rock wrote:

    @71 Mack:

    Agree completely with what you're saying and thanks for the book tip :)

    No doubt politics plays a major role in all football leagues. Definitely. The point I meant was that, at least in the German context, (I'm no authority on English football derbies) the Pauli-Rostock derby seems to have a deeper hatred than other MAJOR footballing derbies (ie not including lower division East German teams) in Germany, for example Schalke-Dortmund. Rostock fans were even banned from taking up the standing area for the Pauli-Rostock game, which is very unusual. I'm assuming, but accept I could be wrong, that the reason for that is the politics associated with the fan groups.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 12:42pm on 05 May 2010, collie21 wrote:

    Do you read the comments people bother to leave on your blog?

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 12:52pm on 05 May 2010, Matt Dalton wrote:

    99. At 07:24am on 05 May 2010, kafkafil wrote:

    "Hi, I'm Phil Minshull. I've lived in Spain since 1997 and covered Spanish football since the first day I got here."

    Right, so what are you doing writing about St Pauli?

    ---------------

    He also wrote one about Leverkusen a while back. Personally, I don't see a problem with the odd article about other leagues that are not covered by anyone else. If he has no subject matter in Spain should he just not write?

    http://www.the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com/

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 1:10pm on 05 May 2010, collie21 wrote:

    112. At 12:52pm on 05 May 2010, mattydalton wrote:
    99. At 07:24am on 05 May 2010, kafkafil wrote:

    "Hi, I'm Phil Minshull. I've lived in Spain since 1997 and covered Spanish football since the first day I got here."

    Right, so what are you doing writing about St Pauli?

    ---------------

    He also wrote one about Leverkusen a while back. Personally, I don't see a problem with the odd article about other leagues that are not covered by anyone else. If he has no subject matter in Spain should he just not write?

    http://www.the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Well he didn't write this either did he?

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 4:07pm on 05 May 2010, robinhodave wrote:

    Went to match with Celtic supporters. German clubs enjoy good vocal support but the St Pauli fans were brilliant. However, what really impressed me were the Greuther Furth fans at the opposite end who kept going throughout and stayed to witness the St Pauli celebrations instead of just getting off. The pubs had also put out tables to provide a fan area with typical German hospitality.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 4:53pm on 05 May 2010, der verlorene Sohn wrote:

    @FraggleRock

    Your are entitled to your opinion, but it is based on an alarmingly simplified logic. By your reasoning, there are numerous political teams throughout Europe. But your simplified logic is based on other assumptions. For example, you uncritically assume that all May Day rioters are in fact making political statements, rather than simply expressing aggression that may or may not be politically motivated. A left-wing shop (whatever that actually means) is a business, not a political party. I suppose you think selling Che Guevara t-shirts is also a political act or that the 18-year-olds who buy them are all making political statements.

    The point is, St Pauli promotes the value of inclusion, but in all my years of visiting I have never been aware of any overt political messages. To be honest, I don't know of any politically-motivated cheers that the St Pauli fans use.

    You also seem to disproportionately direct too much attention to the ultras. The reality is that St Pauli have a majority of normal fans simply there to watch the football. St Pauli's fans are diverse and identify with St Pauli for a number of reasons, but two might be that (1) they were born in Hamburg and St Pauli is the only team in central Hamburg or (2) for those who are more concerned with social issues it might be because St Pauli promotes inclusion and the right/left cleavage often reflects an exclusive/inclusive mentality.

    The reasons could be endless, but I know that my 2-year-old nephew will support St Pauli simply because his father does—the little one already sings St Pauli and goes to games! Maybe he is a political activist and just doesn't know it yet...

    There is no doubting though that there is an element of St Pauli fans who will look for trouble, especially against Hansa Rostock. These "certain fans" (by the way I originally quoted you on that so that is your brush off) are like those we saw not so long ago during the West Ham-Millwall game. Thugs fighting thugs, but of course if we adopt a Hamburger Morgen Post or Die Bild perspective this is purely political...because we all know people with left-wing attitudes resort to violence!?!

    I won't bother responding to your suggestion to look at YouTube to find proof that St Pauli's fanbase is motivated by an extreme left political ideology or by the "whole fun-character" of the team. I will just say that a club which has been in existence for 100 years probably has a more diverse fanbase than you suggest.

    I'm sorry to hear that you were so offended by the "500/600 USP people" who were singing anti-police songs in Cottbus. As a non-white person, I'm more concerned by the racist slurs and chants (which are very often tied up with political ideology which politicises numerous German teams according to your basic conceptualisation of the term) that I hear when I visit certain cities and stadia around Europe...and from what I've heard, Cottbus, Rostock and Luebeck —to name but three — are no strangers to this!

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 4:53pm on 05 May 2010, Hail_Santa wrote:

    During a school trip to Berlin just over a month ago I went mad when I saw St Pauli merchandise in a sports shop and immediately ran over, although to my dismay none of my friends had heard of them and were wondering why I was so fascinated by them. I even had to borrow 20 euros from one of them as I'd spent almost all of my money on a Hertha BSC shirt at the Olympiastadion, somehow thinking I wouldn't find any St Pauli gear in Berlin.

    Delighted that they're back in the Bundesliga where they belong.

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 7:12pm on 05 May 2010, Fraggle Rock wrote:

    Der verlorene Sohn:

    OK perhaps we should agree to disagree eh? :)

    Just to clarify: I don't believe that everyone who riots on May 1st is making a political point, but in my opinion there's differences between the ones who shout "ACAB" and those who shout "Allierte, Allierte Antifaschiste". Some people are making a political point, hence the demonstrations. But you're right, some are just there to smash stuff up.

    A left-wing shop is a shop that sells merchancise with left-wing slogans and is a place where left-wing activities are organised and information is given. You'll find some in Kreuzberg, Berlin. I have a sticker in my room which I bought there that has a swastika being smashed with a fist, a picture of the St Pauli crest and under it says "St Pauli gegen rechts" (St Pauli against the right wing). In my humble opinion is that sticker both inclusive, but also political. That sticker can also be bought in the sankt pauli fan shop.

    No I don't think selling Che Guevera's t-shirts is a political act.

    I understand completely that the Ultras do not represent the club's fans. But they have quite an influence in terms of controlling the songs being sung, use of fireworks etc. Look no further than the recent Rostock game for evidence of this, where they (to a degree) forced some fans to boycott the first five minutes.

    Of course I don't believe every Pauli fan is a political activist, and that includes your son :)

    I'll go no further, but I would like to stress the greatest thing I found about St Pauli fans was the multicultural character. In that respect, Pauli is a leading light, and long may that continue. :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 8:06pm on 05 May 2010, der verlorene Sohn wrote:

    I know the shop you're talking about in Kreuzberg, it's not far from where I now live...but ultimately it is just a store. BTW, I have the same St Pauli patch you are refering to!

    "OK perhaps we should agree to disagree eh? :)"

    Yes, that's probably best, but I suppose one positive thing about this discussion is that we have given a bit of an insight into the polemics surrounding FC St Pauli!

    One thing I'd like to add, not so much as a response to you FraggleRock but more in the way of a general statement...

    St Pauli's reputation as having a left-leaning support base also makes them a target for that right-wing element that has existed for years and continues to exist within football. Of course, there are those St Pauli fans who are ready to battle fire with fire, but we should also question why is it so easy for them to find "enemies" amongst so many other teams? These other teams with their right-wing ultra groups, are quite often the same members of national front-esque parties and do not hesitate to bring politics to the terraces. Of course this is not limited to Germany, but it is a sad element of the game in too many places.


    A left-wing shop is a shop that sells merchancise with left-wing slogans and is a place where left-wing activities are organised and information is given. You'll find some in Kreuzberg, Berlin. I have a sticker in my room which I bought there that has a swastika being smashed with a fist, a picture of the St Pauli crest and under it says "St Pauli gegen rechts" (St Pauli against the right wing). In my humble opinion is that sticker both inclusive, but also political. That sticker can also be bought in the sankt pauli fan shop.

    No I don't think selling Che Guevera's t-shirts is a political act.

    I understand completely that the Ultras do not represent the club's fans. But they have quite an influence in terms of controlling the songs being sung, use of fireworks etc. Look no further than the recent Rostock game for evidence of this, where they (to a degree) forced some fans to boycott the first five minutes.

    Of course I don't believe every Pauli fan is a political activist, and that includes your son :)

    I'll go no further, but I would like to stress the greatest thing I found about St Pauli fans was the multicultural character. In that respect, Pauli is a leading light, and long may that continue. :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 8:07pm on 05 May 2010, der verlorene Sohn wrote:

    I should point out that I only meant to cut and past one sentence in the post above, not the whole original post!

    Please disregard all that comes after the 5th paragraph!

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 9:54pm on 05 May 2010, dimps wrote:

    CONGRATULATIONS TO ST PAULI FROM ALL AT CELTIC GOOD LUCK FOR THE FUTURE

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 11:15pm on 05 May 2010, der verlorene Sohn wrote:

    Let's try this again...without it gettting deleted by mistake!

    FraggleRock...I know the store you're talking about in Kreuzberg as I live near it, but it is still only a store:) As for that fist breaking the swastika, I bought two of the patches years ago!

    But I agree that we should agree to disagree. At least we have given a bit of an insight into the whole controversy surrounding St Pauli.

    One more thing to add, which isn't directed at FraggleRock but rather a general statement...

    The very fact that St Pauli are recognised as having a left-leaning fanbase actually makes them targets for those right-wing fans — who have existed for years and continue to exist — of other clubs. Of course St Pauli have a section of fans that are very willing to fight fire with fire. But we should ask the question as to why they it so easy for them to find right-wing enemies. These fans — with their fascist salutes and racist/xenophobic chants — are the same people making up the numbers in national front-esque political parties and bringing their ideology to the terraces. They are the scourge of European football and unfortunately they are still too common.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 7:58pm on 06 May 2010, Phil Minshull wrote:

    Many thanks again for all the excellent contributions and comments this week, especially from the various Celtic fans who have elaborated on their special relationship with St Pauli and others who have chipped in with their own experiences of seeing St Pauli.

    Thanks also to Bernhard2 & Jeky for pointing me (and others) in the direction of the book "FC St. Pauli. Das Buch. Der Verein und sein Viertel.” My German is a rather ropey but it might be one to get for the summer.

    The one thing that did surprise me was that nobody came up with any other clubs that have played, regularly or otherwise, in brown shirts. Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, didn’t Coventry City have a brown away strip for a few years in the 80s? However, that’s the only one I can remember and I can’t even come up with others in European football. Can anybody else?

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 8:42pm on 06 May 2010, Peter wrote:

    I supported the old club from my schooldays and watched nearly every game before moving away from Hamburg.

    But since it became a question of partly very left wing and outdated ideology and abuse is thrown at your for daring to have a different opinion, I`m pleased to say after 39 years of support not the same club anymore and no longer interested how well or bad they do.

    The so called "Kult" is just a phrase like so many others without any substance at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 4:24pm on 07 May 2010, Gegengerade wrote:

    It´s still the same old club, maybe your´e to long away from it and maybe times have changed, a commercial increase has happened. But there is more than only the "very left wing" (die Nordkurve lebt), without a right wing, you can still find everything and every colour of life in this magnificent club, but not least pure football, deep passion and a lot of fun.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 5:09pm on 07 May 2010, Hail_Santa wrote:

    "The one thing that did surprise me was that nobody came up with any other clubs that have played, regularly or otherwise, in brown shirts. Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, didn’t Coventry City have a brown away strip for a few years in the 80s? However, that’s the only one I can remember and I can’t even come up with others in European football. Can anybody else?"

    -------------------------------------------

    My local team Cray Wanderers, who are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, are wearing a commemorative brown kit with amber pinstripes, as it was the earliest known colours of the club. Only a limited amount are going to be available, numbered 1 to 150, and I'm going to try and get one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 10:12pm on 09 May 2010, Ben Mayer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 127. At 3:59pm on 11 May 2010, lidstrom5 wrote:

    I enjoyed reading your informative article on St Pauli, pointing out the club's originality (below the club emblem it says tongue-in-cheek "non stablished since 1910") and friendly and celebratory fanbase. Just to tweak the piece, St Pauli's first journey to the Bundesliga was in the 1977/78 season and they had another two-year stint there from 1995 through 1997.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 08:32am on 18 Mar 2011, amt2011 wrote:

    Its all about Bayern for me, but fair play to St Pauli - they're not offensive. Bayern may have screwed up this season, but they'll be back :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 08:38am on 22 Mar 2011, dazzler2018 wrote:

    Just wanted to congratulate Michael Ballack on his successful return to German football. He has been inspirational at times for Leverkusen, when many had written him off as 'past it' at Chelsea.

    He is still a class player, and a great captain.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.