ST PAULI

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Show­ing us how to be fans

FOOT­BALL, as us Brits love to re­mind ev­ery­one, was a Bri­tish in­ven­tion. Formed in the pub­lic schools, adopted by the great un­washed, moulded and trans­formed by decades of bick­er­ing, ide­o­log­i­cal nit-pick­ing and de­bate - we’ve done a lot to form the game as it is to­day.

Un­der­stand­ably, this means we feel a cer­tain ma­ter­nal pride over it; a self­ish­ness and un­will­ing­ness to ac­cept foot­ball, that great Bri­tish in­ven­tion, may not nec­es­sar­ily just be “ours” any­more.

For me, this shows it­self most promi­nently in fan cul­ture.

Up un­til very re­cently, no one did ‘be­ing a fan’ like the Bri­tish.

We fol­low our teams up and down the land, sup­port them through thick and thin…we were the envy of world when it came to sup­port­ing your team. The key word there, of course, be­ing ‘were’. With the de­vel­op­ment of so­cial me­dia, on­line vis­i­bil­ity and good old Sky and BT, Bri­tish eyes have been opened to what the world has to of­fer in terms of fan cul­ture.

The un­re­lent­ing noise of the Sudtri­bune, the ‘Yel­low Wall’, of Borus­sia Dort­mund. The fierce and vi­brant chore­og­ra­phy of the Su­perClásico be­tween Ar­gen­tinian heavy­weights Boca Juniors and River Plate. The foot­balling world has now opened its gates to the wider Bri­tish pub­lic, and for a lot of peo­ple, my­self in­clud- ed, the penny has dropped; has Bri­tish fan cul­ture lost its way?

On a re­cent trip to Ger­many, I was de­ter­mined to visit the Millern­tor-Sta­dion in Ham­burg – the home of FC St Pauli.

For those of you un­fa­mil­iar with St Pauli, they are what’s known as a cult club.

Un­til the 80s, St Pauli were your typ­i­cal Ger­man foot­ball team; how­ever, due to the work­ing class St Pauli area of Ham­burg be­ing heav­ily pop­u­lated by so­ci­ety’s ‘out­casts’ – punks, an­ar­chists, hip­pies, squat­ters, pros­ti­tutes, transvestites – this pres­ence soon seeped onto the ter­races of the Millern­tor.

Sud­denly, St Pauli had a heav­ily al­ter­na­tive fan base, and this wasn’t the only thing that made them stand out.

Their new sup­port­ers not only brought a sense of style to the ter­races, but also hard­core left-wing views, which are still ac­tively pro­moted to­day.

FC St Pauli are anti-ho­mo­pho­bic, anti-racist, anti-fas­cist, anti-sex­ism and as so­cial­ist as Jeremy Cor­byn’s teapot – they are as much a po­lit­i­cal move­ment as they are a foot­ball club.

The first team wear rain­bow de­signs on their of­fi­cial strip to sup­port their anti-ho­mo­pho­bic stance; they or­gan­ised ral­lies, as well as launch­ing a range of club mer­chan­dise, to

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