Flying the FC St. Pauli flag in Leeds

Posted: July 26, 2009 in Fan Culture, FC St. Pauli, Supporters' football

Many members of my Sunday league club, Republica Internationale, are also FC St. Pauli supporters. For some of them it’s the only club they follow in professional football, while quite a few others would say “I support such-and-such a club in England, but I wish the club and the fans were more like St. Pauli.” Personally I was aware of St. Pauli’s brilliant anti-fascist fan scene for several years before we started bumping into them at the tournaments we go to around Europe about 10 years ago. Others, especially our women players,  got to know the FC St Pauli women at our annual trips to the Mondiali Antirazzisti in Italy. We’ve travelled to Hamburg on various occasions to experience the great atmosphere of St. Pauli home matches & their legendary after-match parties! Of course we’ve also taken part in their famous AntiRa tournament every year since it started in 2004.

Eight Republica members recently made up half of the UK St. Pauli supporters’ squad at Worldnet, a weekend tournament held here in Leeds every July, which brings together supporters’ teams of 80 English & Scottish clubs and the odd overseas team too, playing on 10 university pitches at Bodington Hall. We were in the 16-team veterans event.
The team came together through the UK St Pauli fans’ message board and this was the very first time  many of us had even met, never mind played together, but by the end of the weekend we’d been voted “Team of the Tournament 2009” by our peers, match officials, etc. That’s out of all 80 squads at Worldnet, not just the 16 veteran teams !  I’d like to think that much of the reason for that particular triumph was due to us publicising St Pauli’s philosophy on the tournament’s website & in the tournament programme, as well as the fact that we were the only mixed team in the tournament. We also had indisputably the best banners, flags, stickers and pennants as well as possibly some of the most …errm …. unique singing at the tournament !!

Aologies to Dave L and Lee that we didn’ take the photos till after you left, and of course we weren’t the same team without you ! While you were there we lost narrowly to eventual finalists Leicester and drew with Southampton, but after you left we crumpled against Birmingham, before rallying the next morning, when we should have beaten Fulham in the first knock-out match.Here we are before our match with the Birmingham veterans:

On Sunday, a 9am kick-off for our first match was too ridiculous to be taken entirely seriously. We just carried on partying and for a brief moment I thought our opponents, Fulham Ancients,  were going to join in with that spirit :

After our unlucky own goal and 1-0  defeat in that match,it was a long walk from the bar with those pints, so where to carry that pesky football gear ?

We did give every team a bottle of Astra (St. Pauli’s local brew and erstwhile shirt sponsor ) with a pennant before kick off…. but we had limited supplies so unfortunately the local Leeds pisswaterfrom the bar (i.e. Carlsberg-Tetley’s finest) had to masquerade as the Reinheitsgebot brew for some of the photo opportunities. Anthony not pleased:

Some more of the Leeds St. Pauli contingent preparing with the appropriate degree of professionalism before our unlucky knock-out by Fulham:

One of the other teams sharing our pitch were the “Arsenal fans Nigeria” veterans XI ! While they waited on the sidelines to play “Leeds Lards”, they were obviously awestruck by some novel St. Pauli tactics:

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