“Hells Bells” of Australian legends AC/DC is ringing out of the speakers, and the fans have come to see a fight. No, I am not describing the atmosphere just before a boxing match, but the way FC St. Pauli start their home games. Here is why everybody in Germany loves the FC St. Pauli.
Above: St. Pauli entering the pitch.
Considering how St. Pauli start their games, the word romantic doesn’t pop into ones mind immediately. But, as a matter of fact, it is the best word to describe the fans of the club from Germany’s most sinful area. Being placed in a part of Hamburg that has embraced prostitution, strip joints, cabaret, theaters and a vibrant nightlife, most of the club’s fan
base is left leaning political. The fans of the club embrace multiculturalism, and a fan environment free of sexism or any other kind of mundane bigotry. St. Pauli’s fans have always fought against those things vigorously. An example of that should be mentioned: When the German version of the magazine Maxim put up an ad-board at the Millerntor that displayed a female in a compromising position, both male and female fans of the club rallied the club to get the board removed(which it ultimately was).There is just this certain touch of rock’n’roll mentality to the club’s fans, that makes St. Pauli so appealing beyond the boarders of Hamburg.
Another reason for the appeal of St. Pauli is the fans dedication to their club. Their fans have made every home match a
special occasion, and even when the club was playing in the second and third division of German football the Millerntor was packed with roaring and screaming fans, creating an ultimate football experience. Besides their vocal support for the players on the pitch, the fans have shown their club a lot of love off the pitch as well. When the club was in financial dire straits in 2003, the fans managed to raise an impressive 1,95 million Euros to keep the club alive.
Finally, the players of the team do play a role in the club’s vast popularity. There those characters like Gerald Asamoah, who gives up a contract at Schalke, just to play football because he enjoys it so much. Or those footballers who come from a proper working class upbringing. An example is Deniz Naki, who once stated: If I hadn’t become a footballer, I would have probably worked as a pimp. There are fewer and fewer of these characters in the league. St. Pauli has many of them. So, why would anybody besides fans of the HSV hate St. Pauli. I find it very hard to find any good reasons.
Sunday’s grudge match
St. Pauli have done far better this season then expected of them. Six points from certain relegation is a spectacular result for the team from the “Reeperbahn”. This Sunday will see “the buccaneers of the league” take on their arch rivals Hamburger SV. Besides the home fans in the Imtech-arena, very few people will show their support for “the dinosaur of the league”.
The St. Pauli fans haven’t celebrated a Bundesliga victory against the HSV for 34 years. For a closer look at the “Hamburg derby”, you can read my article on this very match on the Bundesliga fanatic.