dimarts, 11 de maig de 2010

Punks & pirates storm the elite of football

"If a Clash reunion tour were possible, this would be its audience, except that they do all the singing. Often in English, it lasts the full 90 minutes and includes nods to the Beatles, who spent their early years around the corner at the Kaiserkeller and the Star-Club. The choirmasters are four fans with megaphones, perched on the perimeter railings behind the goal in a manner that would give British safety officers heart failure.

Attending a match at the Millerntor is like stepping back 20 or 30 years into a slightly altered, improved football universe: the old Den without the menace. With beer and smoking allowed on the terraces — yes, standing remains part of Germany’s football landscape — it even smells like an old ground. In a good way.

The motto “Non-established since 1910” says everything about the club whose team wear brown and are cheered on by fans waving the skull and crossbones. Its centenary will be celebrated not with a prestige friendly against a mega-club but against FC United of Manchester.
...

This was anything but. For the first 40 minutes after the teams took the field to AC/DC’s Hells Bells promotion jitters were evident as St Pauli missed a penalty and a retake. But the crowd sang on as if they had scored and two goals in as many minutes just after half-time settled the nerves.

After the final whistle, celebrations spilt on to the nearby Reeperbahn, while 500 or so headed for their traditional watering hole, the Jolly Roger pub, to continue drinking and talk about the match and the plans for the rest of Friday night.

What they did not discuss was whether success will change St Pauli. How could it, when Corny Littman, the president, is a theatre and nightclub-owner and one-time performer in gay cabaret? “I’ve been president for seven years but a fan for 30, so I understand what they want,” he said. “I believe in the identity and you have to take care of it.”

“You only have to look around to feel the atmosphere, to understand the flair of St Pauli. I’m not afraid that we’ll lose it, even in the Bundesliga. I don’t really want to talk about it because we’re not there yet. If we are, we may change the atmosphere of the Bundesliga, but it won’t change us.”


Nick Szczpanik, The Times. St Pauli a world of their own making.

(Sankt Pauli will play next season in the First German football league)

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