FC Sankt Pauli in 2015
For a long time at the club it appeared to be a bit of a battle. For many years things ran pretty chaotically, for years flirting with financial disaster. Even once the club was brought back onto an even keel, you would still occasionally find yourself studying the team sheet at the beginning of each season, wondering who all the new players were, as loan players and journeymen dominated the side.
Leading up to, during and shortly after our last adventure in top division in 2010/11, we also had a long fight for the character of the club. It is important to note that you can fight for your club. The top flight features the likes, Bayer Leverkusen (Bayer), Wolfsburg (VW) and recently sold HSV (now backed by Beiersdorf and Kühne & Nagel). RB Leipzig will surely join them soon enough. It would be easy to retreat to the pub, moaning about “modern football”, but whilst the odds are stacked against the fans, some victories can be won. Sankt Pauli is a good example of this. A few seasons ago, we campaigned against the continued commercialisation of the club with “Sozial Romantiker” movement, turning the stadium red with banners and flags. At the same time outsiders would often claim that Sankt Pauli had lost its soul. Occasionally it was hard to claim otherwise. VIP Lounge events that contradicted the ethos of the club, LCD screens in the ground to display fans text messages for a tidy sum, a ground where many fans didn’t seem that interested in the football anymore, and a board and president that seemed open to dialogue but didn’t really appear to be normal fans. There were in essence times, where on a matchday, you felt the only thing that really was “Sankt Pauli” was the few thousand fans standing on the terrace in the Sudkurve.
Since the time of the Sozial Romantiker campaign though, things have slowly changed for the better. Club Presidents at Sankt Pauli have often had a hint of social conscience, but have seldom been people you could imagine having a pint with after the match. This season our president resigned. He was replaced with Oke Göttlich. Oke is someone who regularly attends matches, he has been involved with the fanzines in the past and more recently turned up for an interview wearing a “Refugees Welcome” jumper. In other words, for the first time we appear to have a president who isn’t just open to dialogue but actually “gets” fans. In the supervisory board at the club, there are at least two fans who travel home and away to matches, and have represented fans voices both at Sankt Pauli and further afield in the past. They inherit the reigns of a club that is now in a relatively healthy state, with an extremely well graded youth team setup. That is an ideal situation for a club like Sankt Pauli. We will never be well off, but we could be in a position to compete, using young, home grown players, who can, once they move on, generate transfer funds.
This season in the stadium itself has been mixed but with a positive end. We started off very poorly indeed, and by halfway through the season, were even playing in the relegation zone, with one end of the ground missing following the demolition of the Nordkurve. By Christmas though we had a new coach in charge, Ewald Lienen. The change was almost instant. He insisted on changes to the way players behaved, creating a better spirit. At the beginning of every match, he walks along the front of the terrace, pumping his fist, stirring the crowd up. Interviews with him suggest he didn’t just choose Sankt Pauli for sporting reasons, but believes in what the club stands for. The stamina of the squad appears to have been dramatically improved too. Whereas morale might have kept the team battling until the 70th minute, we often found ourselves conceding late on. Yet in the final, hard fought, run in towards the end of the season, and with us desperate to avoid relegation, the team was now in a position to dominate matches for the full 90 minutes. Teams such as RB Leipzig and Kaiserslautern were beaten, despite them challenging for promotion. The Nordkurve is almost rebuilt, and elsewhere in the ground fans have woken up. The Gegengerade in particular has graced several matches with fine choreos, something normally only expected from the Ultras in the Sudkurve.
On the final day of the season, away in Darmstadt, we finally secured confirmation that we would stay in the second division. Fans celebrated on the pitch. The key moment though was still to follow. The coach was conducting a TV interview, when the president came over. He apologised to the camera, and explained that the interview would have to stop. The reason? Because they both needed to catch a tram to the station, before boarding the football special back to Hamburg with the fans. The spirit of Sankt Pauli is back!
Ultrà Sankt Pauli in 2015
As most of you know, our group was founded back in 2002. This is now more than 10 years ago. Today it’s difficult to sum up who we are as a group. The opinions held within the group about what we should be, are wide ranging and people naturally focus on different things. But that makes us who we are, that is also what has made the big melting pot Ultrà Sankt Pauli so interesting and unique for so many years.
There is a big team of cooks working on this pot and everybody does his or her best to find the right ingredients to provide a good meal. The basic ingredient, of course, is the love of FC St. Pauli and its unique and down to earth fan base. It brought all of us together.
But we also have to focus on the different chefs: The meal starts with a crazy mix of international cuisine with many influences. Creativity is essential for our meal. Where, in the past, we have just cooked the same dish as the day before, we have failed. We are always looking for new flavours, to mix them with the good old ones. One cook would like to have a little more politics simmering away, like anti-racism (an example being our support for refugees). But the fight against discrimination will be always part of the menu at Ultrà Sankt Pauli.
Another cook would like to add more of the fine Italian cuisine from the 80s, some cooks maybe want to cook a Polish meal and others are keen to cook something completely different. Some people want to cook with only a select few chefs, some want to cook with music and some want to do a BBQ with beer.
That’s what Ultrà Sankt Pauli is – a small and unique meal cooked by a small numbers of cooks at a backyard of a bar in the St. Pauli district. We always cook “learning by doing” and will chance the ingredients as much as necessary. Our meal is never boring but always spicy and tasty.
We always need new cooks to help in the kitchen too. Even when sometimes external influences make it hard, we always place trust in our people. It’s the people that add all the spices and the taste, and the people that cook the great meal of St. Pauli. An international, political and delicious meal.
The games in Season 2014/2015
We started the past season with a great opening barbecue at a small park near the stadium in the shadow of he most famous church of Hamburg. With a few hundred fans, flags, banners and smoke we had a great march along the harbor. Unfortunately we finished the match against FC Ingolstadt with a draw.
Before our away match in Aalen we visited a beautiful lake to enjoy some time in the water and the sun. After entering the stadium we celebrated a 2:0 victory. We also said‘thank you’ to a small fan club in southern Germany called ‘Province Fanatics’. For the second time they organized an antiracist party at the evening before our match in Aalen and donated the profit to USP Antirazzista for our antiracist refugee support every home match.
In the first round of the German cup we played against ‘Optik Rathenow’, a 5th division club from a small village in Brandenburg. In the small stadium in between trees and next to a lake we won the match with a safe 3:1 victory.
At the home match against the next small club from southern Germany Sandhausen we celebrated the German world championship trophy in our way. With thousands of destroyed German national flags, a burning police car and a burning jail we showed, that there is no home country, to be proud of. Fuck patriotism and nationalism! After that great, smoky, chaotic choreography we celebrated a 2:1 victory of our brown-white team. Days after this match the Squatting Days started in Hamburg. With supporters from all over Germany and Europe there were many workshops and actions. Also a house between the Hamburg harbor and our stadium was squatted by some activists. For some years this has been the first time a squatted house was defended in a very militant way. After that action an activist and St. Pauli fan got arrested and placed in custody for many months without a proof. Luckily the activist is at least free again.
After our 0:3 failure in Fürth the team manger Roland Vrabec was fired and the former player Thomas Meggle took over his job. But the following matches against 1860 Munich and Aue were lost as well. Not until the match against Braunschweig St. Pauli could win again.
Before the draw against Frankfurt, sadly we had to learn, that Hamburg’s most famous and notorious graffiti sprayer OZ died in the train yards of Hamburg. After displaying some banners in Frankfurt we bade farewell with a colorful choreography at the match against Berlin. Thousands of balloons, his famous smiley and some of his slogans filled our south stands. OZ – free like a bird!
St. Pauli won the match with a 3:0 victory.
But the following two games against Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe we lost again.
And then the next opponent in the second round of the German cup was Borussia Dortmund.
Obviously this match was one of the past season’s highlights – it was the first home match in the German cup since 2007. Many weeks before we started to prepare what was to become the greatest choreography ever at the Millerntor Stadium. A huge banner covered almost the hole south stand including the seats. And even the other stands had some great choreographies as well. For the north stand it was the very last match – the next day workers began to dismantle the stand. Before the second half we displayed quite a lot of pyrotechnics.
As expected Dortmund won the match with 3:0.
The next great mark in this season was our match in Leipzig against redbull. Many German fan scenes decided to boycott their matches in Leipzig. But we decided to organize a great away tour there and enter the stadium together with a lot of St. Pauli supporters. For the kick-off we covered all fan club banners with the slogan ‘St. Pauli is the only way’. During the second half we also showed a great banner with ‘all bulls are pigs’. In German ‘bull’ is a common name for a cop, so the slogan is similar to ‘ACAB’. So both, the red bulls from RB Leipzig and the cops got a little slap. Unfortunately we lost the match with 1:4.
One day before our match against Bochum we welcomed a contemporary witness to hold a panel in our fan rooms Fanräume. Our guest Esther Bejarano is a Jewish survivor of the concentration camp Auschwitz. The way in which she told us about her life in Nazi Germany impressed us all a lot.
Until the end of the first half of the season we gained only one more point. So after the first 17 matches we ended up on the very last place with about 13 points. So, the current team manager Meggle changed into a different position in the club to make room for Ewald Lienen the new team manager of St. Pauli. Though the first match under Lienen ended also in a failure, in the following match against Aalen we won and gained three important points. With this little high we spent the winter break on the 17th place.
The new year started with a draw in the away match against Sandhausen, a very unlucky loss against Fürth at home and a also very unlucky draw in Munich against 1860 Munich. Followed by another draw at home against Aue. Thus coach Lienen got six points from the past six matches, which was already half of the points we had gained from the first 17 matches before.
In the away match against Braunschweig Lienen got his second victory. It was clear to almost everybody, that St. Pauli is close to a relegation to the third division. Every point was crucial. Therefore, this victory was celebrated accordingly.
For the home match against FSV Frankfurt we called for a match-day motto: Millerntor Roar. With this manifestation we wanted to bundle all energy for this season’s ultimate goal: to stay in 2nd division. Before the match we met in a park nearby and celebrated a colorful, smoky corteo to the stadium.
A smaller group invited about 60 refugees to the stadium to enjoy a nice match day with us. The day started with a collective breakfast in the squatted house and social center Rote Flora. Afterwards we went to the stadium and enjoyed the match, which ended in a 1:1 draw. After that we had a well tasting lunch in the Rote Flora, as well. Apart from inviting about 15 refugees to every home match each season, this “Migrants Welcome Day” is an activity we organize once a season.
The following home match against Düsseldorf hosted another important action day. The Rote Flora squat, which is the iconic center of left wing politics in Hamburg, is undergoing a big renovation, which takes several months. For the summer the activists plan a construction month with many volunteering crafts(wo)men coming from all over Europe. To help support this big construction site we collected money and used our many ways to inform about this project in every part of the stadium. Even the club’s official crowd funding campaign ‘Kiezhelden’ started a funding site. To top it all of the match ended with a superb 4:0 victory.
After the next away loss in Karlsruhe, St. Pauli won the following home match against Nürnberg by scoring a goal in the very last minute. In this moment, five games before the end of the season, Ewald Lienen had gained as many points as Vrabec and Meggle in their 17 matches combined. Unfortunately, all the other clubs in the lower tier of the table scored as well, so we were still in danger of being relegated.
On the way to the away match against Heidenheim one of our buses broke down, so we had to find another way to get there.In order to do so we had to rent some cars in a nearby town and spend a lot of money to support our team. Unfortunately we lost the match 1:2.
The next opponent was Leipzig, and they wanted to keep their slim chances for relegating to the Bundesliga alive. So, everybody expected the match to be a tough one. But soon after our colorful, smoky and shining intro, which covered all of the Südkurve in smoke, flags, confetti and paper rolls, Kalla scored the 1:0 and we won this awesome match.
Everybody gained new spirit for the end of the season. But the next match would be the away match against Kaiserslautern. Which, in the past had always won the important matches. The only time we had won a match in Kaiserslautern, they had already been qualified for the play-offs. So, nobody expected one single point.
After the first half no team scored and everybody would have been happy about this draw and one point. But then, in the second half, Kalla and Halstenberg scored for St. Pauli. After 90 minutes we had won against Kaiserslautern, who played for the promotion to the first league. If St. Pauli could win against Kaiserslautern, chances were they could also hold off relegating to 3rd division.
We started the following home match day against Bochum with a collective boat trip. After a short walk we entered the stadium for the season’s final home match – we all wanted to avoid the relegation and even the play-offs. But unexpectedly Bochum scored the first goal and took the early lead. But luckily and amazingly St. Pauli turned the whole match around and won with a solid 5-1! Unfortunately almost all teams below us in the league scored as well, so we had to wait until the very last match of the season to reach a safe place.
For the last match we took a football special to Darmstadt. For the most of us it was the first time at the Böllenfalltor. Darmstadt had just moved up from the 3rd division and aimed for the promotion to Bundesliga, so they would give everything for a victory. And so, in the second half they scored the first goal which meant their safe promotion. Which put us in a tight spot since whether or not we could remain in 2nd division depended on the results of the other ongoing matches. Until the very last minute Aue came close to score and win their game to safe their own ass and put us into the play-offs for relegation. But luckily for us they missed their chance and in the end St. Pauli managed to stay in the 2nd division.
Now we’re very lucky to stay in the league. But, we have to remember, that during the last year a lot of racist people formed a movement by the names of Pegida and Legida and marched week after week in several German cities. On top of that brutal racist hooligans founded a network called HoGeSa (hooligans against salafists) and attacks on refugees or refugee camps are happening more and more frequently.
There haven’t been any big right-wing demonstrations in Hamburg yet, but some events have already been announced for the late summer.