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When perfectly good beer is wasted by one idiot…

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Last Friday night’s match between St. Pauli and Schalke is only the 7th in Bundesliga history to be abandoned. One individual’s action has given an entire group of fans a bad wrap. Now the FC St. Pauli have to play their next home match against Werder in front of empty terraces.

88 minutes are gone, St. Pauli are down to 9 players after referee Deniz Atykin has sent of two of the players. About 27 minutes earlier the St. Pauli had a goal blown off for offside, a split second decision that was difficult to make, but right as the TV pictures later confirm. The linesman who made the decision is later hit by a pint of beer, thrown by an outraged spectator, and the referee abandoned the match.

Suddenly, it seems, fingers are pointed towards the St. Pauli and their fans. Bild reports about “unruly fans”, that do not hesitate to toss objects on the pitch. What seems to get lost in that discussion that now has been going on in the tabloids, fan forums, on Twitter and elsewhere is that there are clear distinctions to be made here.

First of all, there are no good and bad football fans. Yes, St. Pauli have fantastic fans, but are their fans better then the fans of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or Werder Bremen? But, a football fan is a football fan, nothing more, nothing less.

We can measure the commitment of the fans by the level of noise they produce, how they help their football club in finical difficult times etc. And on that count we can maybe create a distinction between, let’s say football fans in Norway that almost never make any noise, and football fans in Germany that do tend to make themselves heard.

Furthermore, some fan-bases seem more appealing then others, considering their political stances or their social commitment to their community. But, identifying oneself, or feeling closer to, one group of fans then other groups doesn’t make one of them better then the other. It simply means that different people have different values.(Well, I would of course take out fans on the extreme right out of that equation, for hopefully obvious reasons)

However, there are certain things that one has to accept as a football fan. You don’t get to make the decisions!  It is the club that decides if they want to keep the coach that you loath, help the club that you loath, and it is the referee that gets to make the calls on the pitch. Those are the rules you have to play by if you are a football fan, and even though this sport has driven me mad at times, it has been an easy bargain to make for me.

Having said that, there stands nothing in your way to make your feelings heard. Bayern Munich’s fans can protest Uli Hoeness, and fans can boo the referee, and you can start a petition to get the coach removed… I could go on for hours.

The amount of things that you cannot do is a rather limited:

As a fan you do know that throwing objects on the pitch is forbidden.

As a fan you do know that racial and homophobic slurs have nothing to do with the beautiful game, and that these things do not belong there, or in fact anywhere else in society.

As a fan you restrain from violence, and if you should run into a fan of the opposite camp you should conduct yourself like a normal human being. Ideally you should go for a beer, and talk about the match. No beer should be thrown for the entire time, mind you.

Holger Stanislawski said himself that the guy who threw the glass wasn’t a fan. He is right, and the one guy, who isn’t a fan, has ruined a match of football for over 25.000 fans who wanted to see the match between St. Pauli and Werder at the Millerntor.

Feel free to leave a comment below.


About Niklas

Niklas Wildhagen has been following the Bundesliga for over 20 years and he is the editor in chief of the Bundesliga fanatic.

11 responses »

  1. Why on earth would you throw a mug of beer at the referee? Finish said beer, then throw! Kidding. This is the one bad apple that spoils for all–St Pauli fans who frequent the Millerntor regularly deserve better–especially as their time to watch 1.Bundesliga football at home is slipping away.

  2. Agreed! Though I feel bad for the Werder fans who wanted to go support their team, because Werder really needs that support right now. Hopefully they’ll win today and put some distance between themselves and 16th place.

    @OutsideMid, as far as I can tell, the Pauli fans *want* to be in the 2. Liga. They’re probably getting their wish 😛

    • Eh, yeah, probably right. After debating over the club losing it’s perspective this season, they do probably welcome a return to the 2. They’ll probably miss that Hamburg derby though.

      • I liked St. Pauli before they were mainstream

      • St. Pauli aren’t exactly mainstream. the club is trying to earn money in a mainstream fashion these days, but the fans haven’t changed that much. the sort of players who play for St. Pauli, I would guess 70% of them wouldn’t be able to play for other clubs, considering that they are too mouthy, have jobs, or are just to concerned about staying real. While the club may turn into a more commercial entity, the players and the fans haven’t.

        On a different note, their former president Conni Littmann has said: “Well, we may turn to prostitution. But we are the club of the Reeperbahn, and on the Reeperbahn we respect prostitution.”

        Littmann was btw the first, and to this date, only gay president of a Bundesliga club.

  3. Great stuff Niklas, puts a good perspective on the incident. Of course it is ridiculous to cast an entire club’s fans in a bad light because of the behavior of one person. One probably very drunk and angry person. It is a remarkable statistic that only 7 games have been abandoned, but I’d venture a guess that many objects have been thrown, it’s just that the aim was never quite so spot on…

    It’s definitely a shame that this shadow has been cast over St Pauli for the rest of a season that already looked quite bleak.

  4. I was joking 😛

    It was gonna be tough for them to keep their identity anyway. In the end its a business and they’re gonna have to “sell out”. The biggest shame is that while we know how good the St. Pauli support is the people who don’t watch the Bundesliga are only going to think about this incident.

  5. Biggest thing that irks me about this involves the club’s name. News stories about the incident always began with “St Pauli fan…” instead of naming the fan once he/she was identified. Same with the gambling scandal–“former St Pauli players…” Most readers will only pick up on the club’s name and forget the rest, thus leaving the club with that stigma for a bit.

  6. This is what pissed me off when Neymar accused Scottish fans of racist abuse. Sure they were booing him, but the tar sticks.

    Speaking in a broader sense you get idiots at EVERY club. Some more than others, but it can take just one to damage or even ruin a reputation. These people might not even be fans, they may never have been to the stadium… they might just be wearing the shirt!

    It would be nice if the media could act more responsibly and push the blame on *Individuals* rather than groups. (The exception being of course if it is a collective piece of trouble)


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