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Fußball-Club St. Pauli is a Germanmarker sports club based in the St. Paulimarker quarter of Hamburgmarker. The football department is part of a larger club that also has Rugby, American football, baseball, bowling, boxing, chess, cycling, handball, skittles, softball and table tennis teams. While the footballers have enjoyed only modest success on the field, the club is widely recognized for its unique culture and has a large popular following as one of the country's "Kult" clubs. . After dropping down to the Regionalliga, the then third football division in Germany, in 2002/03 and remaining there for four years. In 2007 St. Pauli were promoted back to the 2. Bundesliga and stayed up after the 2008/09 season.


Early years

The club began its existence in 1899 as a loose, informal group of football enthusiasts within the Hamburg-St. Pauli Turn-Verein 1862. This group did not play its first match until 1907 against a similar side assembled out of the local Aegir swimming club. Officially established on 15 May 1910, the club played as St. Pauli TV in the Kreisliga Groß-Hamburg (Alsterkreis) until 1924 when a separate football side called FC St. Pauli was formed. The team played as an undistinguished lower-to-mid table side until making their first appearance in 1934 in the top-flight Gauliga Nordmark, one of sixteen premier level divisions created in the re-organization of German football that took place under the Third Reich. They were immediately relegated, but returned to the top flight in 1936. Relegated again in 1940, St. Pauli re-appeared in the Gauliga Hamburg in 1942 and played there until the end of World War II.

Postwar football

After the war, the club resumed play in the Oberliga Nord in 1947. A second place finish in the 1947-48 season led St. Pauli to its first appearance in the national championship rounds. They advanced as far as the semi-finals where they were put out 2:3 by eventual champions 1.FC Nürnberg. The club continued to play well through the early '50s, but were unable to overtake rivals Hamburger SV, finishing in second place in five of the next seven seasons and going out in the early rounds in each of their championship round appearances from 1949 to 1951. In the later half of the decade and into the early '60s St. Pauli was overtaken by rivals such as Werder Bremen and VfL Osnabrück and was unable to do better than earn a number of fourth place finishes.

The struggle for promotion to the Bundesliga

In 1963, the Bundesliga, West Germany's new top-flight professional league, was formed. Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen, and Eintracht Braunschweig joined the new circuit as the top-finishers from the Oberliga Nord, while St. Pauli found themselves in the second tier Regionalliga Nord.

Nearly a decade and a half of frustration followed. St. Pauli captured their division in 1964, but finished dead last in their group in the promotion playoff round. They took their next Regionalliga Nord title in 1966 and while they performed far better in the playoffs, still failed to advance to the top-flight, losing out to Rot-Weiß Essen on goal difference, having conceded two more goals. Division championships in 1972 and 1973, and second place finishes in 1971 and 1974, were each followed by promotion round playoff failures.

The success of the Bundesliga and the growth of professional football in West Germany led to the formation of the 2.Bundesliga in 1974. St. Pauli was part of the new second tier pro circuit in the 2.Bundesliga Nord, and in 1977 finally advanced to the top flight on the strength of their first place finish in their division. The team was immediately relegated after just one season of play in the Bundesliga.

The club's return to the 2.Bundesliga Nord was also short-lived. On the verge on bankruptcy in 1979 they were denied a license for the following season and were sent down to the Oberliga Nord . Strong performances that set the team atop that division in 1981 and 1983 were not matched by good financial health. By 1984, the club was sufficiently recovered to leapfrog back up into the 2.Bundesliga past Werder Bremen's amateur side - which had actually finished two points ahead of St. Pauli, but were not eligible for promotion.

St. Pauli and the "Kult" phenomenon

It was in the mid-'80s 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 St. Paulimarker near Hamburg's famous Reeperbahnmarker - centre of the city's nightlife 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. Importantly, St. Pauli became the first team in Germany to officially ban rightwing, nationalist activities and displays in its stadium in an era when fascist inspired football hooliganism threatened the game across Europe. In 1981, the team was averaging crowds of only 1,600 spectators: by the late '90s they were frequently selling out their entire 20,000 capacity venue.

In the early '90s, the media in Germany started to work on the Kult-image of the club, i.e. by 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" (Pirates of the League) as well as das Freudenhaus der Liga ("league house of merryment", a double entendre for league brothel"') phrases not used by the club's followers.

St. Pauli began a roller coaster ride that saw them in and out of the Bundesliga over the course of the next dozen years: The 1984-85 season ended very close but St. Pauli was relegated to Oberliga again. The team won the 1985-86 championship and returned to 2. Bundesliga. Two increasingly strong years followed resulting in promotion and three seasons in 1. Bundesliga 1988-91. Four seasons followed in 2. Bundesliga, and then another two-season-long run in 1. Bundesliga 1995-97, before returning to 2. Bundesliga.

Into the new millennium

Their most recent appearance in the top flight was a single season cameo in 2001-02. Apart from a 2-1 home win against Bayern Munich, the then-World Club Championship winners, which led to the wildly popular Weltpokalsiegerbesieger (World Club Champ beaters) shirts, the team disappointed and finished last, partly because the management did not trust the team which surprisingly won the promotion in 2001, but rather spent the additional money from Bundesliga TV contracts and advertisements for expensive but disappointing players. After the relegation to the 2. Bundesliga, only a skeleton of the successful 2001 team had remained, thus the season 2002/03 ended up in chaos, with the team fighting, unavailingly, against relegation from the very beginning, various coach demissions and other internal problems in the club.

With the club almost bankrupt again and the less lucrative Regionaliga Nord looming the club began its fundraising activities, the so called Retteraktion. They printed t-shirts with the club's crest surrounded by the word Retter (rescuer/saviour) and more than 140,000 were sold within 6 weeks. They also organized a benefit game against Bayern Munich to try and help rescue the club. Many other activities, like selling the Retter-Shirts in McDonalds restaurants in Hamburg, led to harsh criticism from the fan base.

The club has also been active in terms of charity and in 2005 the club, the team and the fans initiated the viva con agua de sankt pauli campaign which collects money for water dispensers for schools in Cubamarker.

During the 2005-06 season, the team enjoyed unprecedented success in the DFB Cup, with wins over Burghausen, Bochum and, significantly, Bundesliga sides Hertha Berlin and, in the quarter-finals on 25 January 2006, Werder Bremen. Their 3-1 victory in front of a sell-out Millerntor crowd and their subsequent place in the DFB Cup semi-final netted the club approximately €1 million in TV and sponsorship money, going a long way to saving the club from immediate financial problems.

In the wake of its DFB Cup victories, the club has also produced a new line of t-shirts with the slogan "Wir sind Pokal" (We Are Cup), after the Bild newspaper's famous 2005 headline "Wir sind Papst" (We Are Pope).

St. Pauli finally went out of the cup to FC Bayern Munich on 12 April going down 3-0 with a goal from Owen Hargreaves and two from Claudio Pizarro. Incidentally, Bayern Munich was also drawn as St. Pauli's opponent in the first round of the following season's cup leading to an early exit as Bayern won 2-1.

However, after success in the 2006/07 season the team was promoted to the 2nd Bundesliga.

Recent seasons

Year Division Position
1999-2000 2. Bundesliga (II) 13th
2000-01 2. Bundesliga 3rd (promoted)
2001-02 Bundesliga (I) 18th (relegated)
2002-03 2. Bundesliga (II) 17th (relegated)
2003-04 Regionalliga Nord (III) 8th
2004-05 Regionalliga Nord 7th
2005-06 Regionalliga Nord 6th
2006-07 Regionalliga Nord 1st (promoted)
2007-08 2. Bundesliga (II) 9th
2008-09 2. Bundesliga 8th
2009-10 2. Bundesliga


Logo on a truck at the stadium
FC St. Pauli enjoys a certain fame for the left leaning character of its supporters: most of the team's fans regard themselves as anti-racist, anti-fascist and anti-sexist, and this has on occasion brought them into conflict with neo-Nazis and hooligans at away games. The organization has taken up an outspoken stance against racism, fascism, sexism, and homophobia and has embodied this position in its constitution. Team supporters traditionally participate in demonstrations in the Hamburg district of St. Pauli, including those over squatting or low-income housing such as the Hafenstraßemarker and Bambule. The centre of fan activity is the Fanladen St. Pauli.

The club prides itself on having the largest number of female fans in all of German football. In 2002, advertisements for the men's magazine Maxim were removed from the team's stadium in response to fan protests over the sexist depictions of women in the ads.

St. Pauli is also a worldwide symbol for punk and related subcultures. The unofficial Totenkopf logo and the team's brown and white football jerseys have often been worn by international artists such as Asian Dub Foundation. Turbonegro recorded a special version of their song "I Got Erection" with re-worked German lyrics for St Pauli. Bad Religion played a charity match against St. Pauli's third team in 2000. KMFDM frontman and Hamburg native Sascha Konietzko is a recognizable St. Pauli fan, even at one point placing a huge picture of a fist smashing a swastika on his band's main page with the caption St. Pauli Fans gegen Rechts! (St. Pauli fans against the right-wing) underneath it. One of the most notable supporters and sponsors is Andrew Eldritch, lead singer of band The Sisters of Mercy. On his latest tour, Sisters Bite The Silver Bullet in 2006, Eldritch wore the famous Totenkopf shirt. German musicians: Fettes Brot, Die Ärzte singer/drummer/songwriter Bela B., Kettcar, Tomte and many other bands, most of them underground. Georg Holm, bassist of the Icelandic post rock band Sigur Ros performed at sereval festivals, waering a Sankt Pauli shirt

While the team played in Germany's second football division home fixtures at the Millerntormarker used to average greater attendance than any other team in that division, and often exceed turnouts for second division teams. St. Pauli can also boast more season ticket holders than many Bundesliga teams. One study recently estimated that the team has roughly 11 million fans throughout Germany, making the club one of the most widely recognized German sides. There are about 200 registered fan clubs, many of them outside Germany.

St. Pauli are also known for their close links with many other foreign clubs and enjoy a particularly close friendship with Celtic with St. Pauli fans attending Celtic games on the continent when Celtic play UEFA competitions. St Pauli flags and scarves are frequently seen on display at Celtic Park (The official Celtic stores sell St Pauli merchandise) and every year Celtic supporters arrive in Hamburg for the annual St Pauli - Celtic Festival.

In Israel, St. Pauli is identified with Hapoel Tel Aviv, a first division team that also see itself as anti-racist and anti-Fascist. In the Tel Aviv derby that took place on 17 February 2008, Hapoel Tel-Aviv fans waved a large St. Pauli flag in the stadium.

Also, St. Pauli Ultras are friends with the Ultras of FC Bayern Munich the Schickeria München

Club culture

  • St. Pauli opens its home matches with AC/DC's Hells' Bells, and after every home goal Song 2 by Blur is played, turning the stadium into a giant mosh pit.

  • A rivalry developed between St. Pauli and Hansa Rostock in the early 90's because of the number of neo-Nazis among Hansa supporters at that time. As Hansa brought these groups under control and eventually banned them, the rivalry faded. However, after Rostock fans unprovoked attacked St. Pauli supporters at the away match in Rostock 26 September 2008 (Hansa Rostock : St. Pauli 3:0) it became obvious that still some of the neo-Nazi Groups are active and not under control.

  • The club's arch enemy is Hamburger SV, the city of Hamburg's largest and most successful football club. Past derby matches have taken place under close police watch to keep the supporters of the two sides separated, as HSV has a small group of neo-fascist fans. During derbies, HSV supporters have held up banners reading "HASS" (hate), or chanted "Zecke verrecke!" ("Ticks, croak it!"), while St. Pauli fans often answer, in allusion to the Italian leftist Ultra scene, "Amburgo, Amburgo: Vaffanculo!" (Hamburg, Hamburg: go *** off!). Another chant of some HSV supporters is "Eine U-Bahn bauen wir - von St. Pauli bis nach Auschwitz" ("We'll build a subway - from St. Pauli up to Auschwitzmarker") .
As HSV's stadium lies on the outskirts of Hamburg, many St. Pauli fans see their club as the only true football club in the city.

  • St. Pauli was very proud of having what was probably the last non-electronic scoreboard in the upper leagues. After every goal, a worker manually updated the scoreboard by taking down and then replacing a number placard. With the 2007 opening of the new South Stand, a large electronic scoreboard was installed in the South-east corner of the stadium.


A floodlit Millerntor-Stadion
Gift shop at the stadium
The club's home is the Millerntor-Stadionmarker. Work on the stadium began in 1961, but its completion was delayed as there was initially no drainage system in place, making the pitch unplayable when it rained. It originally held 32,000 supporters, but this has been reduced in recent years for safety reasons.

In 1970, the stadium was renamed the Wilhelm Koch stadium, in honour of a former club president, but this was controversial when it was discovered he had been a member of the Nazi Party during the war, so the name was changed back to Millerntor in 1999. Currently, a reconstruction effort has begun. The goal, a total renovation of the stadium (expanded seating, new amenities, etc), is expected to be completed in 2013 and cost around 30 million euros.

Team trivia

  • The sports club also fields a women's rugby team, which has won six national titles, the most recent in 2007
  • The club president Corny Littmann, long active in German theatre and head of the Schmidt Theater on the Reeperbahnmarker, is openly gay
  • FC St. Pauli have made pre-season appearances at Wacken Open Airmarker, a heavy metal festival, several times.
  • The club hosted the 2006 FIFI Wild Cup, a tournament made up of unrecognized national football teams like Greenland, Tibet and Zanzibar. They participated as the "Republic of St. Pauli"
  • The British band Art Brut have a song about this football club, called "St Pauli" which is featured on their album "It's A Bit Complicated"
  • In 2008, Nikemarker commemorated the club with two exclusive Dunks. Both released in limited quantities. The High Dunk (featuring a black colorway, and the skull and crossbones symbol) was released to all countries throughout Europe, with only 500 pairs produced. The more limited Low Dunk (featuring a smooth white colorway, and holding the teams logo impregnated in the side panel leather) was only released to shops in Germanymarker, Switzerlandmarker, and Austriamarker, with only 150 pairs produced


Current squad

For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2009.

Notable players

Notable former or current players of St. Pauli include:

Ivo Knoflíček, Ján Kocian, Ivan Klasnić, Cory Gibbs, Zlatan Bajramović, Yuri Savichev, Thomas Meggle, Klaus Thomforde, Walter Frosch, Volker Ippig, Ronald Karp, Martin Driller, Bernd Hollerbach, Felix Luz, Fabian Boll, Morten Berre, Yang Chen, Deniz Baris, Ian Joy, Christian Rahn, Franz Gerber, Jürgen Gronau, Carsten Pröpper, André Trulsen, Leo Manzi, Holger Stanislawski, Paul Caligiuri, Dieter Schlindwein, Heinz Müller and Tore Pedersen

Manager History

Other sports


The St Pauli rugby section has several teams, both in the masculine and feminine ligas.The women have a particularly brilliant history, has they have won the German rugby union championship 8 times (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 et 2008) and the sevens championship 3 times (2000, 2001, 2002). Several of their players actually play in the national squad.

The mens rugby department has not been as successful, reaching the German final only once, in 1964. In 2008-09, St. Pauli is the only club to have a team in both the rugby and football 2nd Bundesliga. In 2008-09, the mens team finished fourth in the second division.

External links


  1. Punk rock football
  2. Soccer entry in The Archive hosted at The Bad Religion Page
  3. New sponsorship deal for St. Pauli (German)
  5. Gay footballers still frowned at in Germany

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