Many Celtic fans wonder where the affiliation with St.Pauli grew from, there has been many variations on this subject, but i would like to give my own interpretation of the bond we have with this fantastic football club from Hamburg.
Nearing the end of the 80’s the supporters of FC St.Pauli were following their club and from a crowd of 3.500 it grew up to 20.000. There were a lot of squattered houses and a long left-wing tradition in the district of St.Pauli which also influences more and more of the supporters of the club.
They started out for being “the alternative”, (left-wing if you like) and bringing new political views (the German stadiums were infiltrated by organised fascist parties and hooligans) to the terraces. The first non-hooligan football crowd was started and a fight against right-wing, Racism and Fascism in football began.
Celtic fans got known to them at these events and the special link between similar football loving people started.
After that St Pauli supporters started following Celtic and the games in Bern, Ekeren, Neuchatel, Lisbon, Cologne, Dortmund, Paris, Zurich, Lyon etc etc, the friendship between both parts of the supporters grew.
Why do they feel comfortable with Celtic and their supporters? Beside the contribution of tolerance against other football supporters, the contribution of left political ideas into the conservative and nationalist football scene and the development of the fascination of Celtic, it was also formed by perceptions of their club (independent of sporting success).
Normally, for supporters of a football team, the most important thing in their life is success, being top of the league and the best team of the world.
The Celtic supporters respect good entertaining football, justice and equality and showing a proudness to play for the Hoops is as much important as success. In the unsuccessful times of the mid 80’s and 90’s, and leaving European cups early, the supporters backed their club and team and gave credit to the players when they tried everything.
They were not booing (en-mass), they gave credit to their better opponents especially in Europe and still applauded their beloved Hoops.
That was impressive and taught St Pauli fans. The same behaviour Celtic Supporters showed in the streets, bars and cities of the European hosts and being awarded best football supporters in 2003 for the behaviour in the UEFA-Cup-Final in Seville was no surprise to St Pauli fans because this is the way the Hoops have behaved since their first meeting with St Pauli and what makes them so special.
The other main Celtic angle is that fans are well educated about the movements in Palestine, the Basque Country, Chiapas or South Africa and support them as they did for the Irish struggle for decades.
It was in the mid-1980s that St. Pauli’s transition from a traditional club into a “Kult” club began.
The club was also able to turn the location of its ground in the dock area part of town, near Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn—centre of the city’s night life and its red-light district—to its advantage.
“An alternative fan scene emerged”, built around left-leaning politics and the “event” and party atmosphere of the club’s matches.
Supporters adopted the skull and crossbones as their own unofficial emblem. St. Pauli became the first team in Germany to officially ban right-wing nationalist activities and displays in its stadium in an era when fascist-inspired football hooliganism threatened the game across Europe.
In the early 1990s, the media in Germany started to work on the Kult-image of the club, focusing on the punk part of the fan-base in TV broadcasts of the matches.
By this time, the media also started to establish nicknames like “Freibeuter der Liga” (buccaneers of the league) as well as das Freudenhaus der Liga (“Brothel of the League”) but Freudenhaus also literally means “House of Fun.”
St. Pauli opens its home matches with AC/DC’s “Hells’ Bells”, and after every home goal “Song 2” by Blur is played.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKCtcLZmpo4&feature=player_embedded#!
The Jolly Roger is a bit of a St. Pauli institution.
As soon the stadium across the road empties this place becomes St. Pauli fan central.
The jolly roger was an old-fashioned St. Pauli pub, which over the years has been transformed into the coolest football bar in Hamburg.
Then of course we have the “Reeperbahn” a trip to watch St Pauli just would’nt be same without the customary stroll. In German it is also called die sündige Meile (the sinful mile).
There we have St Pauli – I’m not a devoted supporter but I’m definitely in with the premise that they represent the better aspects of football.
I would urge ALL Celtic supporters to make at least one trip to the Millerntor-Stadion and enjoy the hand of friendship from the best German football supporters in the country.
From the G40 archives by my old mucka Jackie Campbell.