Archive for the ‘FC St. Pauli’ Category

St. Pauli     0     FC Ingolstadt    0                     Millerntor Stadium,  Hamburg.   22nd  March  2014

An enjoyable  weekend staying in St. Pauli with mates, but unfortunately we’d chosen the weekend when St. Pauli’s recently very  dull football was at its very dullest, and as a result so was the atmosphere in the ground…. (but still way better than any English crowd when their team are serving up a dull goalless draw).

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And at least standing on the terraces behind the goal here only costs about 12 Euros, plus a few quid for the decent quality Astra beer, which it’s so great to be able to drink as you watch the match. This leaves a  bit of  cash for some  post-match merchandise, which  is also still decent enough quality.  Our dog Pauli needs s a new lead  [EDIT – here he is in fact, looking very pleased with it at a later date]:
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After the game we had interesting discussions over a beer in the new Fanraume with Nick Davidson, author of this new book about the club:
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In the book, Nick writes that:
“Supporting St. Pauli isn’t about results, league positions or even the football. “  It’s a good job too, I think,  after a game like that one we saw  today against Inglostadt!

“It’s about friends, community, standing-up for what is right, and making sure you have a good time doing it. When I visit I stand on the Südkurve and it feels like home. Over the past six years, I’ve seen some great games, visited some amazing grounds, but most of all, I’ve met some incredible people. I owe those people a lot. They renewed my faith in football, in the power of football supporters to make a difference.”

Spot on, Nick! So I’m ashamed to say that, after just a couple more beers, I ignored the delights of a night in St. Pauli and had to have an early night, curled up with a good book.

(I was way too knackered to read it of course, but it certainly does look like a good book!)

FC St. Pauli  2     MSV Duisburg  1       August 22nd 2011

We’re on one of our FC St. Pauli weekends in Hamburg, but a very special one this time as two of our great friends here, Carsten and Anna, got married in a country village near Hamburg on Saturday night. So the  great thing about this particular weekend’s schedule from our point of view is that St. Pauli’s home match v. MSV Duisburg is on the Monday night, giving us almost two full days to recover from  the sleepless Friday night and then the long night of the wedding party on Saturday. This suits us just fine, with the added bonus that Claire’s working week will be down to just three days by the time we’ve flown back to the UK tomorrow (as for me, last Friday was my last full week of work for a couple of months).  But 8.15 kick-off times on a Monday night don’t suit most of the local supporters, and as always on such occasions at the Millerntor Stadium,  there’s a noisy protest against the TV company as the match kicks off.

The St. Pauli Sudkurve Protests against the League & the Skyjackers

The protest helps stoke up a  brilliant atmosphere and, in the end,  a memorable 2-1 victory gained by virtually the last kick of added time – gained  in fact because of the brilliant atmosphere. If the 23,000 home supporters didn’t have such faith in their team and kept believing in them, then surely some players would have resorted to hoofing desperately in those final seconds, rather than carrying on playing patient football as they did, confident that they could still create the crucial opening, with the opposition down to ten men.

I’ve been coming here for a few years now and have grown to love this place, whether standing on the Sudkurve or in the Gegengerade.  It’s a complete lesson in non-stop support and atmosphere that would shame most English crowds. And all for less than a third of what it would cost me to sit in the deathly hush of say, Anfield.

The same Sudkurve celebrates the dramatic late victory

At half-time, by the way, some of those very same St. Pauli Skinheads who were with us at the wedding on Saturday picked up their trophy for winning the recent annual six-a-side competition between supporters’ groups. The applause from their mates in the Gegengerade stand was almost equalled by the derision from where we stood on the Sudkurve, as the Skins could only manage to stagger round about a third of a lap of honour. If the Sudkurve Ultras had been there at the wedding on Saturday, they would surely have been more sympathetic.

The Old Man versus the Skinheads

Posted: August 20, 2011 in FC St. Pauli

So far today we’ve driven to Birmingham in the middle of the night, followed by a flight to Hamburg, a short U-Bahn journey, a train out of town, a bus through the countryside and finally, when the villages got too small even for public transport, a taxi. An epic journey, but we still managed to miss the boat-trip down the River Elbe upon which our friends Carsten and Anna were married at mid-day.

We’re utterly exhausted, and don’t know whether to try to get a couple of hours sleep before their big evening do. But there are loads of old and new friends to meet and greet and we’re so exuberantly proud to be amongst all their mates from the legendary St. Pauli Skinheads as they celebrate our mutual friends’ nuptials in the small hamlet of Gross Heide, where my old flatmate Carsten’s grandparents are the local innkeepers.

With still hours between the wedding ceremony and the party kicking off, and with nowhere open to buy beer, some of the Skinheads decide to ask around.

‘The population of this place is probably less than a hundred’, I say to Claire. ‘No shops and not much chance of finding anyone with twenty spare beers for a gang of skinsheads.’ But the Skins are determined, and decide to go door to door. They may be Germany’s most fearsome band of antifascist supporters, but today they are dressed to impress.

‘Sure’, says an elderly neighbour, well into his seventies. He may or may not be impressed by the skinhead fashion show, but he himself is dressed in his string vest. ‘I’ll sell you a crate or two of Astra that I’ve got here in the garage. No problem, yes, how many of you are there? About eighteen of you? OK, you can all come in and watch the afternoon football with me. There’s just one catch – you have to play a drinking game with me.’

‘OK’, say the Skins. ‘What are the rules of your game?’

‘I’m at home, and you are my guests. So every time a home team scores, I take a shot.’ He gestures towards another, much smaller crate. This one is full of hundreds of those lethal little miniature Schnapps and Jagermeister-type shot bottles they are so keen on in Deutschland. ‘Every time an away team scores, you all have to take a shot each.’

‘OK’, say the Skins, as the word spreads round the gang, some gulping nervously at the prospect, but most bellowing in delight at this memorable challenge – this, they realise, has the makings of a legendary afternoon. At least fifteen assorted Skinheads pile into his fortunately quite large living room, and take up every possible vantage point around the huge telly. But my German, and my cultural knowledge, are lacking, as always. What does he mean by ‘every time a home team scores?’

The Skinheads soon enlighten me. It turns out that on Sly TV in Germany, you can get a live package on Saturday afternoons, where the action switches between every top division match as the goals go in. Kind of like Match of the Day’s highlights on the last day of a title race or relegation battle.  This is live, every Saturday afternoon, whereas in the UK I’m told that some strange people tune in just to watch the ex-pros’ contorted faces and screeches in the Sly Sports studio as they watch the goals go in on our behalves. I hasten to add that I would never pay Murdoch’s filthy channels a penny myself, but I’ll reluctantly watch them when I have to.

The goals certainly rained in this afternoon. In one match alone, five of them went in for Bayern Munich against St. Pauli’s hated city rivals HSV, without reply. This, as you can imagine, went down rather well, and rather noisily, with the St. Pauli Skins. I’m just glad there were so many of us there, because luckily the shot bottles began to run out before the goals did. The old man (his name was Peter) was still adamant:  ‘OK, there’s not enough shots to go round all of you, but one of you on his own still has to play the drinking game with me.’ The Skins discuss who they should nominate. Somebody jokes that it should be me, but I protest that I didn’t even get any sleep last night. ‘That’s why you should do it’, a seconder says. Luckily there’s another volunteer, Carsten’s mate Cheesy, and he takes up the challenge enthusiastically.

When the German football has finished, Sly show highlights of Liverpool’s glorious victory over Arsenal, earlier in the afternoon, before the live English match, Chelsea v. WBA, starts.  By this time, the old man has quite literally drunk his young challenger under the table. And then he just produces another Schnapps bottle, this one full size, and carries on watching the football. He has won the game, as he always knew he would, and know’d better not offer this bottle around. Which seems to suit everyone. The night has not even begun yet.

Fortunately, there’s only a few bottles of Hamburg’s finest left in the Skins’ two crates. I could never have made it through that magical night’s wedding party in the ancient half-timbered village inn, its a free bar flowing with fine wine, champagne and beer a-plenty, if I’d had to drink any more at this stage.

But thank you, old fella, for such unforgettable hospitality.  Prost!

I’ll post more next week about the match v. MSV Duisburg that’s coming up on Monday.

We came, they sawed, the Skinheads lost a drinking game. German wedding traditions at their most entertaining.

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:

Amay, Belgium, May 29-31, 2009

Until now the  anti-fascist supporters’ network centred on FC St. Pauli has always held its annual tournament in Hamburg. Now called the Alerta! network tournament, this year’s event was the first to be held outside Hamburg, and was hosted on the last weekend of May by that stalwart  Belgian anti-fascist group, the “Ultras Inferno” of Standard Liège FC. They had very kindly timed it to start on my birthday, and it was a great place to celebrate !

We have met this really friendly, totally sound group of ultras before at the St Pauli tournaments, and they even invited Republica to a tournament at their place 2 or 3 summers ago, which we were unfortunately unable to attend because there was just so much else going on that year…

At Republica we have always dreamed of finding the ideal tournament venue somewhere in the Yorkshire countryside. A local version of the Berendrecht woods in Northern Belgium, perhaps, where Lunatics FC have now hosted us at four tournaments. All we need is a  small football club, far enough away from local residents to be able to camp and party into the early hours without anyone complaining.

When we arrived at the venue in this very different, French-speaking part of Belgium, we saw right away that the football facilities were ideal – the town football club in the small market town of Amay, 30 km from the host city of Liège. There were four full-size football fields, on the best two of which, four 6-a-side pitches were laid out with a modern grandstand in between. On two sides beyond, there was a beautiful nature reserve full of wild flowers and even wilder waterfowl, leading down to a lake and the valley of the Meuse, one of Belgium’s major rivers. But on the other two sides we were surprised that it was so close to the houses of the town centre, which stood just 100 metres away across the train tracks. For the Friday & Saturday nights music was programmed in a marquee till 2 a.m. The first night the music was mostly rap & hip-hop style, the second night mostly ska and punk, culminating in a 2-hour set by the famous Los Fastidios from Spain who we’ve enjoyed at previous Mondiali tournaments in Italy.

Not only did none of the nearby local residents complain, not only did we not see a hint of a police officer all weekend, but even when we invaded a local’s 50th birthday party in the town square after the tournament had ended on the Sunday evening, we were still welcomed with open arms ! Cathy B, Anna and friends ended up doing karaoke versions of  “One Step Beyond”and “Tainted Love” on a small stage outside the bar in the town square… and still nobody complained! It must be something in the water. Or perhaps something to do with the nearby nuclear power station ? No, seriously, the townsfolk were wonderfully welcoming and about 100 of us drank & danced outside their bar till after midnight on that Sunday night!

Football-wise, it was a laid back 6-a-side tournament, with 6 groups of 5 teams each on the Saturday, the usual knock-outs on the Sunday, and not too many teams taking it excessively seriously. The St. Pauli women’s team were perhaps disappointed that there was no women’s tournament (nobody had told them), and they were drawn in quite a tough group of all-male teams. We were luckier in our group, being drawn with another mixed German team (the famous Rhinish Resistance group from Fortuna Dusseldorf). Only 3 of us had travelled from Leeds, but our Israeli friend Eyal, who we first met at the St Pauli tournament 4 years ago, had arrange to join us, giving us some young legs in midfield – he was fresh from showing his skills at a futsal tournament in Holland and it showed ! We recruited various St Pauli women to form a strong squad with a great spirit, proudly wearing the new limited edition Republica AntiFa team strip as designed & manufactured by Blue Screens Inc. of Holbeck.

In our group on Saturday we beat Bordeaux 1-0, drew 1-1 with the Dutch team Breda Rats (Blue scoring after a quick free-kick), beat Dusseldorf 1-0 (Blue again) and were eventually a bit unlucky to lose 1-0 to the highly competitive reigning tournament champions, St. Pauli Skinheads – They had one shot on target while their keeper had to make some good saves!

So we finished second in the group, and in the top half of the knock-out on the Sunday we drew 0-0 with Bergamo Antifa from Italy. In the penalty shoot out Blue did all she could to put us in the quarter finals, saving 2 penalties and scoring 1 … but no other Rebublicans could hit the target. My own shot came back off the bar so hard that it came to rest on the penalty spot at the other end of the pitch. We then lost 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao (Eyal scoring a goal he had deserved all weekend), beat Bayern Munich (Schikeria) 3-1, and it’s not often you can say that is it (Blue 2, I think) ? Finally we lost 1-0 to another French team, Horda Metz, to finish a very creditable 14th in the tournament out of about 30 teams.

In the final the “Green Brigade” from Celtic (who’d beaten an excellent Sampdoria side in the semis) lost to the home side, Ultras Inferno, a very atmospheric match during which around 100 ultras in the stands let off smoke bombs and the inevitable red flares, while they chanted non-stop for the home side.

It is interesting, as we’re always assessing our own capabilities for hosting our own major tournament before too long, to compare the aspects of the tournament that were well organised with those that were a bit more laid back.

The Venue. Excellent for camping, no complaints about shower or toilet facilities. Plenty of portaloos to complement the changing room toilets.

Bar. An excellent open-air bar plus another one in the bands marquee. Great if you wanted beer, and let’s face it, most people did. The local brew, (Jupiler, 5.2%) flowed endlessly at 1.5 Euros a half pint, as did the Kriek cherry beer, and the wonderful Belgian bottled beers like Duvel, etc. were good value at 2 Euros a bottle. However, they didn’t supply any bottled water at the tournament. Luckily the supermarket was 10 minute stroll.

Food. Was basic. Coffee and rolls for breakfast on Sat & Sun. Nothing for brekky on Monday. From Friday afternoon to Sunday evening there was a barbecue with hot-dogs, shish kebabs and rudimentary salads. Basic pasta (meat or veggie options) was served on Saturday & Sunday lunchtimes. With the right venue, we could easily do a lot better (as we did at Hipperholme). Again, lucky the town facilities were close at hand, and your Republica representatives felt we had to sample both pizza and Chinese take-aways from the town during the weekend, as well as a few goodies from the atmospheric street market on the Saturday morning. All in the name of preparing as full a report as possible, you understand.

Football. Very well organised after an initial delay setting up the  goals. Good rules (= no Ds. Have I ever told you how much I hate Ds in 5 or 6-a-side? Don’t get me started). Some brilliant trophies at the end, each team bringing along their own unique troph, and the organisers again deciding which team best deserved each one. There were special awards for the Hapoel Tel Aviv and Omonia Nicosia ultras groups as “best freaks” and “best smokers” respectively.

Politics. Compared to the St. Pauli tournament, where there are always a lot of meetings updating us on fans’ issues across Europe, the situation for refugees in various countries, etc, there was relatively little here. Apart from the informal “AGM” of the Alerta! network itself, there was just one really good talk about the worsening situation for anti-fascist supporters groups in Eastern Europe, in Ukraine, Belarus, and above all in Russia where there have been a lot of attacks and murders of anti-fascists. We heard how anti-fascist Ultra groups are often persecuted, both at the stadium and in their daily lives in those countries, and watched the start of quite a depressing underground film made by Russian anti-fascists. (This was really interesting for me personally because I’m going to Ukraine in June with a Liverpool supporters’ team, and if nothing else it means I’ll make sure we convey our solidarity with local anti-fascists while we are there ).

Music. A generally impressive selection of bands on the Friday & Saturday, with a good PA in the marquee. The only band to receive much more than their expenses were the “big name” of the antiFa footy scene, Los Fastidios, who were paid by a 3 Euros per head charge and some of the beer proceeds too.

Travel. The wonderfully high “Standard” of Liege hospitality hit us as soon as we started planning our trip – they offered to meet us at the airport and drove us 50k to and from the tournament, and the same for every other team that flew in to Charleroi or Brussels !! At the airport on the way back our driver Robbie even offered to change my unused tournament beer tokens back to Euros !! Maybe it was ‘cos he was grateful that we’d saved him an unnecessary wait at the airport on the first day, by helpfully pointing out that the Celtic supporters team was coming on a flight from Glasgow not Dublin ! The hosts wouldn’t even let us pay for this shuttle bus service, which meant that overall, with a £45 flight all-in, I think it was the cheapest travel of any overseas football trip I’ve ever been on, and despite the current unfavourable Euro rate maybe the cheapest ever trip overall !!

Green-ness. Not much in the way of separation for recycling … but maybe they separate the rubbish after collection in Belgium ? Oh and despite us flying, many participants did arrive by train … at the train station literally 200 metres away !

The weather. Almost ideal for camping around the footy pitches where there was very little shade, sunny but definitely not the real “inferno” of heat that we usually face at the Mondiali in Italy ! Unfortunately our arrival also coincided with a high wind swirling through the grassy meadows of the Meuse valley, and so possibly the worst pollen count some of us had ever experienced !!

Souvenirs. One of the best tournaments ever for stickers, pennants, etc ! Good tournament T-shirts, too. My only regret is that I didn’t buy the network’s “Refugees Welcome” T-shirt; recent events make me determined to wear that slogan this summer – perhaps I can get one at the Mondiali in Italy?

Overall this was a brilliant tournament, one of the best ever, and we certainly left on a high, inspired for the ongoing anti-fascist work that Republica will doubtless be continuing in the face of the BNP’s sinister gains. No pasarán !

There was a fair amount of disappointment, especially from our St. Pauli friends and from the hosts, that not more Republica members could attend, but hopefully there’ll be more of us when the tournament returns to Hamburg next year. It is planned to alternate from now on, one year in Hamburg, then one year outside Hamburg. Come on Yellow Brigades (the Cadiz Ultras), you know you want to host it in 2011 !! (No that’s not a rumour, at the moment it’s just wishful thinking on my part, dreaming of footy in Andalucia).

Postscript: inspired by this event, we started looking as soon as we got back for a suitable site to host our own big international tournament next year. The very next weekend we thought we’d found a decent venue at Lepton, near Huddersfield, but when they finally said “no”, several weeks later, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. By the end of August we’d found the ideal venue at Rufforth near York.  YAWC 2010, here we come !