FC Sankt Pauli 3 v 0 Energie Cottbus:
I had the full day off, and with some new walking boots to break in, I decided I’d take the opportunity to tag a walk on to the match. With that in mind, I caught the U-Bahn to the end of the line in Ohlstedt, the very outerreaches of Hamburg and what would, judging by the size of the houses, be called “Speckgürtel” in German. Surburbia.
Leaving Ohlstedt I headed into the woods to the west of the neighbourhood, which then led to the source of the Alster. Most people associate the Alster, unsurprisingly, with the massive lake in the centre of Hamburg, but it is also a river that leads right through the city. A route of roughly 20km, well-marked, and also well maintained (sandy, hardpacked soil, meaning no mud) follows the river as it widens and narrows, varying from rough wiers to almost glasslike stillness. I took a short diversion towards the end, through the Stadtpark. 10 years ago, I used to play football there every Sunday, having not been back since it was slightly odd to see the place again.
Reaching the main Alster lake at dusk, I then hopped on the tram to the ground for the match. Pre-match was spent meeting up with various friends and selling copies of our Zeckenbiss fanzine – tough work on a cold, dark Monday night. Particularly when you have the luminous grow of another ill thought out fanshop catalogue poster burning into your eyes at every turn (do we really need to advertise in flyposter style all over the place that we have a shed load of new household items with the club badge or a skull printed on them? I’m sure those who want to buy stuff will find the merchandise of their own accord). Afterwards I headed into the ground.
The match itself was alright. With Frontzeck surprisingly ousted as coach during the week, I was worried we might struggle as the stand-in coach found his feet. Cottbus did indeed start quite brightly and matched us well. Two players stood out for them. The first was a lad with the number 20, who seemed sprightly on the ball. To my horror, it turned out to be “Edeltechniker” Charles Takyi. Was this the same player, who used to irritate me so much at St Pauli, losing the ball with every touch? Apparently so! That said, after 20 minutes he went missing once more. More impressive was their number 4, who had a pleasingly confrontational style to his play. He chased everything and even roved into the box for one thundering header.
Over the course of the match though, we were more assured, if not spectacular, and deserved our three goals.
Support wise things were fairly run of the mill. That was until the Sudkurve chose to chant “Nazischweine” at the Cottbus block (poorly filled, even for a Monday night, with no real animation or noise). I would normally shy away from calling a whole away support nazis, as usually that sort of broad brushwork tends to only piss off any normal fans, and encourage the dickheads amongst them. In the case of Cottbus I would make an exception. The club uses stewards with an array of politically dubious clothing labels and tattoos, they have fangroups with very dodgy connections, and there have been far too many cases of anti-Semitism from their relatively small fanbase recently (pic 1, pic 2) (“Juden” is German for “Jews”). Even if that were to be ignored, there is still last year, when they held up Tshirts at Sankt Pauli spelling out “Ein Sieg heilt alle Wunden”. Innocent enough, until “by accident” some tshirts remained held up a few seconds longer, so that the message “Sieg Heil” was revealed. So the chant “Nazischweine” went up, and amazingly a fairly significant number of St Pauli fans booed! I could understand not everyone wanting to take part, maybe a guilty laugh to your neighbour, a shake of the head perhaps, but fucking booing! Since then, the usual lines have been trotted out for why people booed “the Cottbus fans didn’t do anything this time”, “tolerance” etc. For me though it’s a worrying sign. Up and down the country, ultras & fans are getting bullied out of the ground by rightwing hooligans. Meanwhile those in the more subdued or expensive stands fail to show any solidarity. They are against Nazis on paper, nothing more. They turn a blind eye because it doesn’t matter to their matchday if it’s an antiracism banner hung up behind the goal, or a few fans who might beat up the odd Turkish lad on the way home from the match. It’s all the same. For me, the booing and whistles, revealed the number of fans at the Millerntor who wouldn’t lift a finger, were the political consensus in the ground to change, violently or otherwise. To criticise fellow fan’s behaviour is one thing, there was enough of it (including from me) after a similar case versus Dresden, but to side with the opposition, an opposition which has shown no sign of hope or engagement in stopping disgusting intolerance within its own fanscene is shameful.
The reaction put a slightly depressing tone on the night. 3 points with a new coach in place were nevertheless welcome. At the final whistle I made my way through the Hamburg Dom fairground and caught the last train back to Dortmund.
Fotos mercilessly stolen from the internet and the Sankt Pauli blog KleinerTod.
Special mention to Nordsupport for their wonderful banner for us Mafiosi in the Sud. Happy Birthday!