Here you will find a detailed overview of the history of FC St. Pauli.
1907 TO 1945
Prologue and first steps in brown and white
Early kick-abouts and the formation of FC St. Pauli
"The FC St. Pauli story does not begin in 1910, as the name suggests, but dates back at least three years earlier. The club's emergence is inextricably linked with that of the gymnastics club Hamburg-St. Pauli Turnverein 1862, which still exists to this day. Football was played there as early as 1907, though not as part of organised competition. Not until 1910 did the club's footballers join the North German Football Association. They contested their first league games in 1911 and eventually broke away from the gymnastics club to form FC St. Pauli in 1924," wrote René Martens in his book You'll Never Walk Alone, which was published in 1997.
First steps in brown and white
One boozy evening in the August Tenne bar, a number of football-mad members of the games and sport section, which had been founded by Franz Reese following a gymnastics festival on the Heiligengeistfeld in 1899, decided to set up their own football section.
They played their first matches against teams from the Aegir swimming club in 1907 but soon found themselves in financial difficulty. "A loss of 79 marks was recorded in 1908, for example," notes Martens.
In 1909 Amandus Vierth won the argument over the colours for the standard club kit, which remain in use today. Brown and white were also the official club colours from then on.
St. Pauli TV were promoted to the top flight for the first time in 1919 but went straight back down again. The 1920s were a veritable roller-coaster ride for the footballers, or as Martens termed them, "the yo-yo years."
Not until 1930 did the club secure promotion, with players such as Giza, Klages, Wolf, Stamer, Salz, Wrede, Wulf, Kracht, Borgwardt and Schmidt.
St. Pauli qualified for the North German championship finals for the first time in 1931, only to go out in the Round of 16 against Phoenix Lübeck. To add insult to injury, the game took place at HSV's ground in Rothenbaum. In 1933 the Brown and Whites were relegated again after failing to qualify for the newly established Gauliga Nordmark. They won promotion back to the top flight in 1936, but dropped down again at the beginning of World War II.
During the war St. Pauli jumped back and forth between the Gauliga Nordmark and the Gauliga Hamburg.
1945 TO 1963
FROM WONDER TEAM TO BUNDESLIGA START WITHOUT ST. PAULI
St. Pauli's wonder team of 1947 (back row from left to right): Coach Sauerwein, Dzur, Miller, Köpping, Börner, Lehmann, Schaffer, Bielstein, Sump, Koch. Front row: Böhme, Hempel, Delewski, Appel, Stender. Photo taken from 75 Jahre FC St. Pauli
After the war the reconstruction process was to take quite some time – at least as far as the destroyed buildings were concerned. Rebuilding on the pitch, however, progressed much faster thanks to Karl Miller.
Miller used the meat supplies at his parents' almost legendary butchery business close to the Millerntor on Wexstrasse to tempt a host of top-class players to the club. Many of them came up the Elbe from Dresden to join St. Pauli, such as Heinz Hempel, Heinz Köpping and Walter Dzur. Helmut Schön, the future West Germany coach, also had a very brief spell with the club.
To begin with, the the Brown and Whites had to play away or on neutral grounds, as the stadium had been completely destroyed, as had much of the St. Pauli district. In the first year after the war St. Pauli members created a new ground on the Heiligengeistfeld, directly opposite the old fire station. It was inaugurated on 17 November 1946 with a match against FC Schalke 04. The club topped the Stadtliga [City League] for much of the season and looked certain to clinch the title, only to be pipped at the post by HSV on the final day.
In the 1946/47 season the Boys in Brown came up trumps: "When the St. Pauli team controlled both the ball and the opposition, it was almost like watching Brazil," claimed the Annual marking the club's 75th anniversary. This time they finished above their local rivals to take the City League title.
Back in the top flight, St. Pauli lost just three games in their debut Oberliga season and progressed to the semi-final of the 1947/48 German Championship before finally meeting defeat at the hands of FC Nürnberg. The following year they made it "only" as far the quarter-finals. Up until the 1953/54 season the club had to settle for a spot behind HSV, but in that campaign they finished second to champions Hannover 96, with HSV way back in 11th. Thereafter, St. Pauli largely battled it out with Altona 93 for the places behind HSV.
From 1955 and 1958 St. Pauli battled relegation in all three campaigns. Many members of the Wonder Team had joined other clubs or decided to call it a day. They were replaced by a new generation of younger players. Under the stewardship of club stalwart Heinz Hempel they had to settle for a final placing between ninth and thirteenth.
Just 14 years after being built, the club's ground had to make way for the International Garden Festival. Work on the modern-day stadium began in 1960, but St. Pauli would have to wait until the second half of the 1961/62 season before they could play at their new home.
Hempel stayed in charge for almost eleven years before being sacked by chairman Wilhelm Koch in 1962. His successors Otto Westphal, Otto Coors and Kurt Krause lasted barely a year (or two in the case of Krause), leading to Hempel taking charge again in autumn 1968 until the end of the season. When the Bundesliga was formed on completion of the 1962/63 season, the German Football Association (DFB) denied St. Pauli a place in the new top flight. The Boys in Brown resumed in the Regional League North, where they won the title in their first season.
1974 TO 1979
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL
Promotion, survival, promotion, relegation, licence refusal ...
After eleven years in the Regional League St. Pauli finally arrived in the world of professional football in 1974 and in 1977 even made it to the Bundesliga. They went straight back down, however, and a year later were refused a licence.
A few weeks before the start of the 1974 World Cup in Germany, St. Pauli won promotion to the new Bundesliga 2 (North) along with Eintracht Braunschweig. Three days before Christmas, VfL Wolfsburg were thrashed 10-2 at the Millerntor, the highest home win in a competitive fixture since 1945. The club narrowly missed out on back-to-back promotions, eventually finishing a surprise third behind champions Hannover 96 and Bayer Uerdingen.
Once again, the old football saying that the second season is always the hardest proved true. The Boys in Brown flirted with relegation for long periods, eventually finishing a disappointing fourteenth out of 20 teams. The club's prime objective – second division survival – had been achieved, however. Among the teams below them in the table were Spandauer SV, DJK Gütersloh, Wacker 04 Berlin and SpVgg Erkenschwick. Despite scoring almost as many goals as the teams in the top third (70), unfortunately they conceded 82. Promoted were the two Borussias, TeBe Berlin and Dortmund, the latter overcoming FC Nürnberg in the play-offs.
After Uli Hoeness had blasted an all-important penalty into the night sky above Belgrade in the European Championship final, the Boys in Brown entered their third season in the second tier. And what a season it proved to be. Nineteen wins, 16 draws and just three defeats translated into first place and promotion to the Bundesliga! The key factor, however, was an unbeaten run of 27 matches. After a less than auspicious start to the season consisting of a 1-0 defeat at Wuppertal followed by four successive draws, St. Pauli registered their first win in early September, a 3-1 success over Alemannia Aachen at the Millerntor. Under their new coach, Diethelm Ferner, they won all of their home games until Boxing Day, when Wuppertal again provided the opposition. This time the contest ended in a 2-2 draw. The Boys in Brown lost just twice more that season, at Bielefeld and Herne, and on 7 May 1977 Niels Tune-Hansen scored the winner against SC Herford to secure promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in club's history.
Going into the season the expectations in some quarters were huge or altogether unrealistic, and a 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen on the opening day thanks two goals from Demuth and one by Gerber gave further encouragement to the dreamers. Ferner's team were soon brought down to earth, however, when Bayern Munich condemned them to a 4-2 defeat in week 2, Tune-Hansen and Gerber scoring for St. Pauli.
A 1-0 home reverse against Braunschweig was followed by a 4-0 tonking at Saarbrücken before another point was registered in a 1-1 draw with Schalke (Neumann with the goal). The next fixture provided the highlight of the season, a game that is remembered to this day. On 3 September the Boys in Brown secured a legendary 2-0 win at HSV. Franz Gerber and Wolfgang Kulka wrote club history with their goals, prompting an eleven-year-old lad to tell his father, "Dad, next week I want to go and watch the Brown and Whites," a statement that caused ructions in that particular family ...
A week later the team messed up big style at home against Dortmund. Three-nil down at half-time, they soon found themselves even further behind when Erwin Kostedde scored twice in 50 seconds just after the restart. Goals from Neumann, Höfert and Kulka reduced the deficit to 5-3 , but Vöge added another for the visitors to seal the defeat. A 2-1 reverse at Mönchengladbach, Gerber with the goal, was followed by a comfortable 3-0 win over Hertha BSC thanks to a second-half hat-trick from Franz Gerber. Two goals by Wolfgang Kulka and a Horst Feilzer strike were not enough to prevent a 4-3 loss at MSV Duisburg, but there was cause for celebration again a week later when goals from Neumann, Gerber and Höfert (2) clinched a 4-1 victory over 1860 Munich.
The remaining six matches in the first half of the season brought just one win, a 2-1 success over Düsseldorf (Oswald and Sturz), and a 1-1 draw against VfL Bochum (Gerber). The encounters with Frankfurt, Kaiserslautern, Stuttgart and Cologne all ended in defeat.
In December the second half of the season kicked off with a comprehensive 4-0 reverse at Bremen and a creditable scoreless draw against Bayern. Further losses followed in January 1978 – 2-0 at Braunschweig, 3-1 at home to Saarbrücken, 4-1 at Schalke and a 3-2 home defeat against arch rivals HSV. February began with a 1-1 draw at Dortmund (Gerber) but the negative sequence resumed when Hertha avenged their earlier defeat with a crushing 5-0 victory. After a 2-2 draw with MSV (Demuth and Beverungen) the team slumped to a 4-1 reverse at 1860 Munich (Frosch).
In the final six games of the season the only cause for satisfaction aside from a fabulous 5-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt (Beverungen, Oswald, Gerber and two from Sturz) was a 1-1 draw against VfB Stuttgart. The other four games ended in defeat. Away from home the Boys in Brown went down 2-1 at Kaiserslautern (Milardovic), 4-0 in Bochum and 3-1 at Fortuna Düsseldorf. A 5-0 home reverse against champions Cologne marked the end of the club's "Bundesliga adventure" after just one season.
Back in the second division, St. Pauli finished the season in sixth place but a licence refusal condemned them to play in the third-tier Oberliga North.
2000 TO 2009
HIGHS AND LOWS
Despite being most people's favourites for relegation, the Boys in Brown were promoted to the Bundesliga for the fourth time in 2001. They were to survive just one season, and back-to-back relegations saw them in the third-tier Regionalliga
Club history 2000 to 2009
2000/2001 – sensational promotion
Going into the season St. Pauli were regarded as favourites to be relegated, but to everyone's surprise the togetherness in the camp carried them to promotion to the Bundesliga. Thomas Meggle, Marcel Rath and Ivan Klasnic were the standout players, with each contributing more than 10 goals.
The season began very promisingly. With two games gone St. Pauli topped the table with six points and an impressive goal difference of 11-3. On matchday 32, a 1-0 win at Alemannia Aachen put them within touching distance of promotion. Victory against Hannover on the penultimate day would have sealed it, but St. Pauli wouldn't be St. Pauli if they didn't keep things exciting. A 2-2 draw meant they had to win their final game at table toppers Nürrnberg. The home side took an early lead but the "Magical FC" refused to give up and grabbed a vital equaliser just before the break. On 76 minutes it was Denis Baris who proved the hero, heading his side into the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win. Thousands of travelling St. Pauli fans acclaimed the players inside the ground, while tens of thousands of supporters on the Heiligengeistfeld gave them a rousing welcome on their return from Nürnberg.
2001/2002 – disillusionment
St. Pauli’s fourth promotion to the 1st Bundesliga was followed by a catastrophic year. Only four games were won during the entire season. At the end of the season, the club was 12 points short of safe ground. One historic success was achieved, however. On 6 February 2002 the current champion, FC Bayern München, was defeated at the Millerntor with a 2-1 result. Thomas Meggle and Nico Patschinski were the golden scorers. Unfortunately this was the only highlight in a messed-up season. At the very least, FC St. Pauli was now an official ‘Defeater of the World Cup Winner’.
2002/2003 – Free fall
Having been relegated from the top division, the club had to cope with the loss of the distinguished players Thomas Meggle, Zlatan Bajramovic and Marcel Rath. But it was too much to expect. After a dismal season starting with two resounding defeats against Frankfurt and Ahlen, coach Didi Demuth had to resign. Joachim Philipkowski took over the post. But he couldn’t prevent the club from falling into the third league. Apart from three clear victories (7-1 against Braunschweig, 5-2 in Mannheim and 4-0 against Duisburg), the season was no laughing matter for FC St. Pauli, and so the club sank to the Regionalliga Nord [Northern Regional League]. But to begin with it was not clear whether the club was going to be able to play at all. At the end of the season the club had a liquidity deficit of € 1.90 million. In order to get the licence for the Regional League and not be transferred even further down to the Oberliga [Upper League], the club had to show the DFB [German Football Association] that it had liquidity reserves of € 1.95 million. Two measures were taken to avert downfall. First the Jugendleistungszentrum am Brummerskamp [Brummerskamp Centre for Young Excellence] was sold to the City of Hamburg for € 720,000, and secondly, the ‘Retter’ campaign [‘Rescuer’ campaign] was launched. On 11 July 2003, the HSH Nordbank provided a 1.95 million euro guarantee for these two initiatives, so the club just managed to meet DFB’s requirements in time. The ‘Retter’ campaign consisted of selling ‘Retter’ T-shirts, a benefit match against Bayern München, donations, the bar initiative ‘Saufen für St. Pauli’ [‘Booze for St. Pauli’] and cultural events at the Millerntor. Tireless dedication on the part of the club, the fans, sponsors and other helpers prevented the club’s falling to the Oberliga at the very last minute.
2003/2004 – a new beginning in the Regional League
Sales of season tickets for the first season in the Regionalliga in a long time were a gratifying demonstration that FC St. Pauli can count on its fans. 11,700 season tickets were sold – an optimistic beginning. After almost the entire team had been replaced, new coach Franz Gerber first had to train a team of young and inexperienced players. In the end, FC St. Pauli played a rather variable season. Morad Bounoua was FC St. Pauli’s star player this time. His record held 11 goals scored, four of which he was able to score in the 4-0 victory in the home game against the second team of 1. FC Köln alone. After coming alarmingly close to relegation with three losses in a row, coach Franz Gerber resigned and amateur coach Andreas Bergmann took over the team. A disappointing 8th place was the final outcome, so the club had another year in the Regional League to look forward to.
2004/2005 – another year without a promotion
Neither did the second year bring about the desired promotion. Another variable season resulted in St. Pauli’s coming seventh in the table. In this season Sebastian Wojcik stood out with his 10 goals; and the defence players Ralph Gunesch, Florian Lechner and Fabio Morena had also matured and were now firmly established members of the team. Despite missing promotion once more, St. Pauli fans feted their team on the last match day in Berlin at the game against Hertha BSC II just as if it had been promoted. The unwavering solidarity of the fans heartened the team as they looked forward to the forthcoming season.
2005/2006 – DFB Cup
After prodigal son Thomas Meggle returned from Rostock to the Millerntor, there were high expectations. With him on board, surely the long-awaited for promotion was achievable. But even after a relatively strong season the best the club could do was to make sixth place. Still, the good news about this season was that FC St. Pauli was able to remain consistently in the upper third of the table and that it was always one of the six best teams. Three players – Thomas Meggle, Michél Mazingu-Dinzey and Felix Luz – managed to score at least 8 goals each. In the DFB Cup, FC St. Pauli even succeeded in reaching the semifinals. This was the start of their legendary ‘B series’, in which all opponents played started with the letter B (Burghausen, Bochum, Berlin, Bremen, Bayern). After narrowly succeeding in eliminating second league club Wacker Burghausen in the first round with 3-2 (the last goal scored in overtime), St. Pauli sent first league team VfL Bochum packing with a 4-0 defeat.
In the round of sixteen FC St. Pauli faced Berlin Hertha at the Millerntor. When the Berlin team reached a 2-0 lead by half time, no one believed St. Pauli had a hope. But the Cup has always had its own rules. Shortly before the end Felix Luz was able to score the levelling 2-2, warranting an overtime. FC St. Pauli battled its way back into the game after Hertha BSC had taken the lead again with 2-3, and just before the overtime break made it 3-3. Robert Palikuca finally headed the Kiez kickers into the quarter finals with his 4-3 in the 109th minute.
The opponent to be defeated in the quarter-finals was then Werden Bremen. Heavy snow made rough playing conditions for both teams. St. Pauli managed better on the unfavourable ground. Though Bremen managed to draw level with Mazingu-Dinzey’s early goal, the Kiez kickers were able to outmanoeuvre the team from Bremen so effectively that Schultz and Boll made it a comfortable 3-1 by the end. Now FC St. Pauli was to play FC Bayern München in the semifinals. While the Bavarians took the lead with 1-0, St. Pauli was able to dominate the game and set the dynamics of the match. But many fantastic chances were missed, and so FC Bayern confirmed their lead shortly before the end with a final 3-0 score. Despite being defeated, St. Pauli forced the Bavarians to give their very best and proved it was able to keep up with the ‘big teams’.
2006/2007 – we’re back! Return to the 2nd League
FC St. Pauli made a rather patchy start in its fourth season in the Regional League. After 17 match days, the best the club could do was 12th place, and it looked unlikely that promotion was a prospect. At least there was another fight with FC Bayern for the DFB Cup, sadly lost with a 1-2 score after overtime. The team from Munich had been played to the brink of defeat, but in the end the match was lost by a final own goal.
There was a change of coach at the end of November, in hope that promotion might yet be achieved. Holger Stanislawski took over responsibility for the team from Andreas Bergmann. And indeed this change marked the turning point, with FC St. Pauli winning four times within a fortnight and reaching the top of the table of the Regionalliga Nord [Northern Regional League] in a joint team effort. At the end of April 2007 around 8,000 brown-and-white fans celebrated in Bremen, after the postponed game against the standby team of SV Werder in the Weser stadium ended in a 2-0 victory, putting St. Pauli into first place for the first time. On the third to last match day in Erfurt the Kiez kickers achieved a formidable 3-0, moving themselves into a perfect starting position for a final sprint – 6 points ahead of the teams that would fall short of promotion. One single point in the last two matches would thus be enough to secure return to the 2nd Bundesliga. In the last home game of the season, the time had come. After four years in the Regionalliga, FC St. Pauli finally achieved promotion with a 2-2 against Dynamo Dresden. The triumph was celebrated raucously in the stadium, while thousands of fans were lying in each other’s arms at the outdoor screening on the Schiessbudenplatz. The party continued on the Kiez and the Schanze all through the night. Even in bursting FC Magdeburg’s dream bubble of a promotion on the last match day, the Kiez kickers were fair and sportsmanlike and gave their best, keeping their grip in spite of the excesses of celebration. The return to the 2nd Bundesliga was accomplished.
Beside promotion, there was another important project underway at FC St. Pauli: the reconstruction of the stadium! Long awaited by club and fans, it was announced officially in November 2006 that the Millerntor stadium was to be reconstructed. The South Grandstand was to be the first part. There was a big demolition party in December 2006 to mark the start of the project. In April 2007 the club was given the green light to start building. Owing to unexpected delays in the building work, however, the new South Grandstand could not be completed before the beginning of the new playing season.
2007/2008 – confidently holding its position in the 2nd league / the South Grandstand is finished
FC St. Pauli began the new season with some sensational transfers. Filip Trojan was contracted from VfL Bochum, Ralph Gunsch returned from Mainz and Alexander Ludwig came from Dresden. The season’s first match was at the same time the first test of strength. In the first round the brown-and-white Kiez kickers met the team of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. FC St. Pauli took its chances and won the game with a late 1-0 by Fabian Boll. Unfortunately, the second match against the Werder Bremen’s standby team was lost in the penalty shoot-out. St. Pauli’s first season after promotion showed sound play. The club maintained a distance of four points from the relegated ranks, and reached a position among the top 9 after 34 match days of the strongest 2nd Bundesliga of all times. With a row of victories between the 25th and 31st match days, the team managed to remain in the league. In these seven games FC St. Pauli pulled off a three point win five times. The last three points needed came with the 4-2 victory against Erzgebirge Aue on the 31st match day. After being behind twice, FC St. Pauli battled its way back into the game, and Carsten Rothenbach made the crowd cheer when he scored the final goal in the 72nd minute. The construction of the stadium also came along nicely during this season. The new South Grandstand’s topping out ceremony was celebrated in November 2007 and the spectators could hardly wait to ‘board’ the stands. The new stands were opened for partial use on the 13th match day, when some fans were able to watch the 2-0 victory over FC Augsburg from the standing area.
Ian Joy scored the first goal with the new South Grandstand in use. At the next home game against Kaiserslautern, almost the entire standing area could be used. A month later the old club lounge was demolished – not without some nostalgia. Reconstruction of the stadium meant that a beloved venue for FC St. Pauli and its fans had to be sacrificed. The South Grandstand was first in almost complete use for the game against Carl-Zeiss Jena in February 2008. In March 2008 the time-honoured scoreboard was replaced by a new screen. But as no one really wanted to lose the old scoreboard, it is now projected onto the screen. At the end of the season the South Grandstand was completely operational, and the office rooms and club lounge moved into the building in the Budapester Strasse, soon to be followed by the fanshop.
The second season after promotion began with the official inauguration of the South Grandstand. It was officially opened with a big celebration and a friendly game against the Cuban national team. And after Charles Takyi leaving, new contestants Marius Ebbers, Mathias Hain, Rouwen Hennings and Benjamin Weigelt introduced themselves to the audience at home. After the unlucky loss of the penalty shoot-out during the DFB Cup, we are putting all our efforts into the league right now…
2009 TO 2012
BACK IN TOP-FLIGHT FOOTBALL
After two years in the 2. Bundesliga, the boys in brown and white celebrated their well-deserved promotion to the top division at the end of the 2009/2010 season. But they would only stay there for one season this time.
2009/2010 – promotion to the 1. Bundesliga
The new season started with farewells as St. Pauli reluctantly had to say goodbye to players including Filip Trojan, Benjamin Weigelt and Alexander Ludwig. At the same time, however, the club also welcomed several promising new additions as Max Kruse, Matthias Lehmann, Deniz Naki, Charles Takyi and Markus Thorandt all came to Millerntor. The changes to the line-up proved effective as the first half of the season got off to a great start for FC St. Pauli. The squad went unbeaten for the first five games, secured 13 points and achieved a goal difference of 16 to 5 to rank top of the table.
Following a sound 2–1 win against Rot-Weiß Ahlen on the first match day, the St. Pauli team gave Alemannia Aachen a good thrashing on match day two in the first fixture at the new Tivoli, dispatching Alemannia 5–0. In a particularly bitter twist for the Aachen team, three of the five goals were scored by their former teammates Florian Bruns and Marius Ebbers. Stani’s lads proved just as deadly on the fourth match day, captivating the crowd at Wildparkstadion in Karlsruhe. New addition Matze Lehmann sank the ball into the goal twice, while birthday boy Rouwen Hennings and Ebbe both scored once. The match finished with a stunning scoreline of 4–0.
The wave of euphoria lasted until late September, when it was temporarily diminished as Pauli failed to claim a single point against either 1. FC Kaiserslautern or Arminia Bielefeld. These defeats had an impact on the league table as St. Pauli quickly fell to fourth place.
This brief slump also extended to the team’s performance in the DFB Cup. The boys in brown and white only made it to the second round, when Boller and his teammates had to admit defeat against Bundesliga team Werder Bremen after being beaten 1–2.
On the eight match day – when jinxed September was finally over – St. Pauli revealed their old fighting spirit again in a home match against TSV 1860 München, winning by a well-deserved 3–1 despite heavy rain. The curse had been broken. The team went on to collect 17 points in the course of nine matches – three of them with a 5–1 win at Koblenz’s Oberwerth Stadion, when Max Kruse netted the ball twice.
Following a 2–2 draw against Fürth in the last home game of the year, Pauli travelled to Paderborn just before the winter break. With temperatures well below zero, the St. Pauli team were unable to prevent a 1–2 defeat. Stani’s squad finished the first half of the 2009/2010 season second in the table with 33 points and went off to enjoy a hard-earned winter break.
The second half of the season started with a match against bottom-of-the-table RW Ahlen. St. Pauli had to win to stay in with a chance of promotion. However, the bottom-placed team proved to be the better squad in the first half, while the boys in brown and white seemed absent in all but body. The tables were turned in the second half. Ebbers scored in the 77th minute, followed by Sukuta-Paso in the 86th, who scored just 19 seconds after being brought on in his first game for St. Pauli. What a start for the loaned player from Leverkusen!
St. Pauli secured a total of 13 points in the first five games during the second half of the season and remained unbeaten. Going into the 23rd match day, our lads were six points ahead of third-placed Augsburg and just one point shy of top-of-the-table 1. FC Kaiserslautern. But the latter was the better team on the pitch on that fateful 23rd match day, ending Pauli’s run of wins with a painfully convincing 3–0. This was followed by a similarly sobering 0–1 defeat against Bielefeld – who were vying for a place in the promotion zone – and a beating by TSV 1860 München (1–2). Was St. Pauli’s dream over? The club was now in third place, just two points ahead of Düsseldorf. Were the boys in brown and white running out of stamina?
Manager Holger Stanislawski certainly wasn’t: ‘Today, we’re pushing the reset button. We’re starting again from scratch. We’ve got 0:0 goals and no points,’ Stani told the squad and the equally baffled media. He spoke to his players for 45 minutes. The coming weeks were to prove that the lads had listened closely and taken everything on board. Their game became more attractive and – above all – more successful.
St. Pauli’s confidence was bolstered by three wins (Oberhausen, Cottbus, Rostock) in a row. The boys in brown and white moved up to second place in the league table, but were still six points adrift of top-ranking Kaiserslautern and only two points ahead of Augsburg.
Although Pauli lost in Düsseldorf a week later (1–0), things weren’t going swimmingly for their pursuers Augsburg either. The result was a showdown at Millerntor on match day 30, which went in the home team’s favour as St. Pauli sent Thurk and his teammates packing with a dynamic 3–0 win. Matze Lehmann scored once and Ebbe twice – making it quite clear who ruled the pitch at Millerntor.
Promotion was within the club’s reach. Four matches to go with a four-point lead over the third-placed team, and no fewer than nine over the fourth-placed team. But FC St. Pauli wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t keep us guessing. A week after bagging an important win against Augsburg, the team lost to Union Berlin following an 87th-minute goal by Karim Benyamina.
The squad from Millerntor had to make amends in their subsequent home match against TuS Koblenz, which was heartening viewing for Pauli fans, ending with a 6–1 victory. Charles Takyi scored twice, while Deniz Naki, Matze Lehmann, Rouwen Hennings and Marius Ebbers each chalked up one goal. This meant that St. Pauli were through to the promotion play-off round, while Kaiserslautern were definitely going up to the 1. Bundesliga despite losing 0–1 to Hansa Rostock.
The penultimate fixture of the season was hosted by Greuther Fürth, who were up 1–0 at half-time. However, St. Pauli turned the tables in the second half. Deniz Naki’s equaliser was met with an assertive ‘Yes!’, then Ebbers’ goal taking Pauli into the lead 14 minutes later was greeted by an unbridled ‘Jaaaaa!’ When Charles Takyi took the scoreline to 3–1 in the 73rd minute, the first tears of joy started to flow. Most fans didn’t even see Rouwen Henning’s 4–1 ... What happened next will never be forgotten: FC St. Pauli were back in the 1. Bundesliga. Players and fans alike celebrated the end of a glorious season with a promotion party on Spielbudenplatz.
2010/2011 – derby win, relegation, time to say goodbye
The transfer market was a hive of activity at the start of the new season. Patrick Borger and Morike Sako left the club, and Thomas ‘Meggi’ Meggle retired from playing. Fin Bartels, Moritz Volz, Gerald Asamoah, Carlos Zambrano and the loaned players Bastian Oczipka and goalie Thomas Kessler put on the brown and white strip in their place.
The first half of the season in the top-flight circuit couldn’t have gone better. After initially trailing 0–1 to SC Freiburg in Breisgau, St. Pauli managed to turn the tables with a rapid succession of three goals in the space of seven minutes. Fabian Boll netted the ball in the 83rd minute, followed by Richard Sukuta-Pasu in the 89th. Then Fin Bartels planted the ball into Freiburg’s net in the 90th minute. An away win and second place in the table to boot.
Unfortunately, the initial jubilation didn’t last long. On the second match day, the boys in brown and white failed to claim three points against TSG Hoffenheim (0–1) before losing 0–1 again to 1. FC Köln. This was enough to send them plummeting to 13th place in the league table.
There was a glimmer of hope on 19 September during Pauli’s first match against their local rivals, HSV. When Fabian Boll scored the leading goal in the 77th minute, the fans at Millerntor hugged each other in the belief that victory was theirs. But it wasn’t to be: HSV’s Mladen Petric equalised two minutes before the final whistle. What a shame – but the eleven minutes in the lead were worth it.
The boys in brown and white climbed to ninth in the table – just one place behind Bayern – with a win against Borussia Mönchengladbach (2–1) on match day five. Stani’s squad refused to be put off by their 1–3 defeat away to Borussia Dortmund on the next match day, keen to stay on Bayern’s heels. They managed it for a while. On the seventh match day, Marius Ebbers scored to give St. Pauli a win away to Hannover, then Gerald Asamoah, Marius Ebbers and Florian Bruns secured three points in the next home game with a 3–2 win against Nürnberg at Millerntor. The boys in brown and white then had 13 points, putting them sixth in the table, just one point shy of their local rivals.
Unfortunately, things went downhill after this promising start. In the run-up to the winter break, Pauli won just once, during a home match against Kaiserslautern (1–0). The club finished the first half of the season in 15th place with 17 points – but at least they were still two points away from the relegation zone.
St. Pauli started the new year with draws against Freiburg (2–2) and Hoffenheim (2–2). This was clearly a warm-up, because the squad then went all out to win three fixtures in a row – one in legendary style. On match day 20, Stanislawski’s squad thrashed 1. FC Köln 3–0 at Millerntor. Charles Takyi scored twice and Flo Bruns once. A week later, Max Kruse, Gerald Asamoah and Matthias Lehman all chalked up goals to beat Gladbach 3–1.
Then came 16 February, when FC St. Pauli made history in a local derby after 33 years as the underdog. After a goalless first half at the Imtech Arena, something historic happened in the 59th minute.
Max Kruse took a wide corner kick and sent it arching towards Fabian Boll, who had proved to be a deadly scorer in the team’s last encounter with rivals HSV. Boller passed the ball on towards the second goalpost with his heel in almost acrobatic style, where one of his teammates just needed to head it into the net. There, ready and waiting, was Gerald Asamoah.
The St. Pauli fans could hardly contain their jubilation. When the final whistle was blown, the celebrations knew no bounds – from the visitors’ block to the 10,000 or so fans at the public screening in Millerntor stadium and all the pubs and living rooms where St. Pauli fans were cheering on their team.
These three wins sent the club climbing up the table. Pauli had once again fought their way from the bottom of the table up to 11th place.
After this memorable day, nothing seemed to go right for the boys in brown and white, who bagged just one more point – against VfL Wolfsburg (2–2) – in the rest of the season. All in all, St. Pauli conceded 33 goals in the last 12 matches (eight of them in their game against Bayern on the penultimate match day) and were only able to sink the ball into their opponents’ net eight times. A sorry state of affairs.
Things got even worse at the end of the season, partly because FC St. Pauli finished at the bottom of the table with 29 points. But also because manager Holger Stanislawski announced that he would be moving to TSG Hoffenheim after almost 20 years with the club. Stani, who was born in Hamburg, had scored 18 goals for the team as a player in 260 games before working for the club in various roles and then becoming manager of the professional team in November 2006. His departure marked the end of an era for FC St. Pauli.
But every end also means a new beginning. In early May, André Schubert – previously manager at SC Paderborn – was welcomed to Millerntor as St. Pauli’s new manager. Together with the players, he found the recipe for success in the very next season.
2011/2012 – a successful season in division two
When the club went down to the second division, Holger Stanislawski, André Trulsen and KP Nemeth weren’t the only ones to leave. FC St. Pauli also lost a number of well-liked players. Florian Lechner moved to Karlsruher SC; Marcel Eger went further afield to FC Brentford in England, and Matthias Lehmann packed his bags and headed for Frankfurt. Reluctantly, the team also had to bid farewell to its loaned players Bastian Oczipka and Thomas Kessler. Timo Schulz transferred to the under-23s (U23) team to tackle a new challenge as assistant coach. Goalie Mathias Hain retired from active football, devoting his time to training Millerntor’s keepers instead, including new recruit Philipp Tschauner. Sebastian Schachten, Mahir Saglik and Kevin Schindler also joined the squad along with loaned players Patrick Funk, Lasse Sobiech and Petar Slišković – plus, of course, the new manager André Schubert.
The first home game of the new season was held away at Lübeck’s Stadion an der Lohmühle, where St. Pauli faced Ingolstadt. This may sound strange, but the reason for the unusual venue was an extremely unpleasant incident in the previous season. After a spectator at the first-division match against Schalke 04 threw a plastic beer glass onto the pitch and unfortunately hit a linesman, the DFB banned the first home game from being held at Millerntor stadium. This meant that the boys in brown and white had to pack up their football boots and travel to Lübeck, 60 kilometres away, for the first game of the season. They were joined by 10,000 fans. Thanks to Fabian Boll, this home-cum-away match nevertheless recreated the Millerntor experience: the defensive midfielder scored twice and led his team to a well-deserved 2–0 win versus Ingolstadt.
Things continued in this positive vein. André Schubert’s squad remained unbeaten until match day five and occupied the top spot in the table with 13 points. But Eintracht Braunschweig rained on St. Pauli’s parade on the sixth match day. Following a goal by Dennis Kruppke in the 65th minute, St. Pauli lost 0–1 away. It was their first defeat of the season.
Pauli stepped up their game in response during the matches that followed. Despite initially falling behind 0–2, they beat TSV 1860 München 4–2 after going all out to catch up. Then they put KSC to bed with a 2–0 win at Wildparkstadion. St. Pauli also sent Energie Cottbus packing 4–1 on match day ten. Although the squad failed to claim any points against Erzgebirge Aue (2–3), this didn’t rattle the club from Millerntor. By the end of match day ten, Max Kruse and Marius Ebbers had already chalked up six and five goals respectively – a good result for the boys in brown and white.
Schubert’s team notched up another five wins before the winter break and had to make do with draws versus Paderborn (1–1) and Greuther Fürth (2–2). They lost just once, when they faced Fortuna Düsseldorf on match day 11 (1–3).
St. Pauli started the second half of the season fourth in the table with 36 points. However, they had to stomach a bitter defeat during their first match against FC Ingolstadt, losing 0–1 to the club from Audi Sportpark following a last-gasp goal by Ahmed Akaichi in the 89th minute.
Schubert’s squad compensated for this setback by winning their last game before the winter break against their direct competitors Eintracht Frankfurt 2–0. This well-deserved win against the second-placed team resulted from goals by Fabio Morena – at close range after a corner – and Max Kruse following a brilliant counter-attack. The celebrations after the match were subdued because goalie Philipp Tschauner injured his shoulder shortly before the final whistle. He was diagnosed with a dislocated acromioclavicular joint and a double ligament tear. In another unwelcome development, Frankfurt’s Pirmin Schwegler was hit by a till roll in the second half. Luckily, he was unhurt and could continue playing, but the incident had consequences for the club following a DFB enquiry.
Following on from the winter training period, the club had to say goodbye to Ralf ‘Ralle’ Gunesch. After careful consideration, the defender had decided to transfer to FC Ingolstadt. The boys in brown and white received reinforcements in the shape of goalkeeper Philipp Heerwagen on loan from VfL Bochum, while Benedikt Pliquett became the team’s new number-one goalie while Philipp Tschauner recovered.
Following a defeat at Aachen’s Tivoli (1–2), St. Pauli recorded several wins in the new year. Sebastian Schachten scored twice during the first home match against VfL Bochum, taking Pauli to a well-deserved 2–1 win.
Schubert’s squad also secured points against MSV Duisburg (1–0) and Karlsruher SC (1–0). While their matches against Eintracht Braunschweig (0–0) and TSV 1860 München (1–1) ended with two draws, Boller and his teammates had to swallow a bitter 1–2 last-minute defeat away to Erzgebirge Aue.
Although the boys in brown and white had every intention of stepping up their game after a somewhat sluggish start to the new year, they only managed to claim one point in each of the next three fixtures. Their games against Energie Cottbus and Fortuna Düsseldorf were goalless, but then came a plethora of goals in FSV Frankfurt’s Stadion am Bornheimer Hang – the first three of which were all scored by Pauli’s opponents in the space of just 20 minutes. Marius Ebbers (23rd minute), Max Kruse (41st minute, penalty kick) and Fin Bartels (46th minute) put a lot of hard work and fighting spirit into an impressive race to catch up, ultimately managing to secure one point for the Hamburg team.
However, the battle was far from over after this nail-biting encounter. Another prime example of a nerve-racking match was the game against Union Berlin on day 30. After the visitors took the lead thanks to Markus Karl (32nd minute) and Max Kruse’s equalising goal in the second half (59th), the match took a dramatic turn towards the end. In the 81st minute, it looked like St. Pauli had turned the tables with a goal by Marius Ebbers, but the striker admitted to a handball although this would set the team back in their fight for third place. Thankfully, the god of football immediately rewarded Ebbe’s fair play with a goal by Bartels in stoppage time which secured the Hamburg team’s victory.
Unfortunately, luck was no longer on the side of Schubert’s squad when they played top-of-the-table Fürth. Following goals by Heinrich Schmidtgal (6th minute) and former Pauli player Gerald Asamoah (65th minute), the team had to concede a 1–2 defeat while their opponents celebrated their first ever promotion to the 1. Bundesliga. St. Pauli still clung on to the hope of going up.
Three matches remained. The boys in brown and white celebrated a 3–0 win over Hansa Rostock at Millerntor in the first game, albeit in the absence of opposition fans because the police had banned Rostock supporters from attending the match for safety reasons. Ebbers put in an outstanding performance, scoring twice (12th and 49th minute) and Fin Bartels made sure the club bagged three points with a goal in the 79th minute. But Schubert’s squad weren’t the only ones with reason to celebrate. Second-placed Eintracht Frankfurt secured promotion to division one that weekend, triggering a promotion battle between FC St. Pauli, SC Paderborn and Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Following a 0–1 defeat to Dynamo Dresden in the final away game of the season, St. Pauli gave their all on day 34, when they played their last match prior to the renovation of the old back straight. While Düsseldorf played MSV Duisburg for third place, the boys in brown and white faced their direct competitors from Paderborn. Fortuna Düsseldorf and Paderborn were just ahead with 61 points to Pauli’s 59.
The last match of the season proved more than emotional, to say the least. FC St. Pauli played outstanding football and demonstrated a passion and fighting spirit throughout the 90 minutes – and this ultimately paid off. At half-time, they were already up 2–0 following goals by Lasse Sobiech (30th minute) and Max Kruse (36th minute). They didn’t rest on their laurels, however, adding goals by Florian Bruns (60th minute), Moritz Volz (65th minute) and Deniz Naki (90th minute) in the second half for a convincing 5–0 win. The fans went wild, making the stands shake. But as so often happens in life, Lady Luck was looking the opposite way: Düsseldorf drew against MSV Duisburg. At the end of the day, Pauli failed to go up on goal difference and finished the season fourth in the league table.
PRESIDENTS SINCE 1924
|1924 - 1931||Henry Rehder|
|1931 - 1945||Wilhelm Koch|
|1945 - 1947||Hans Friedrichsen|
|1947 - 1969||Wilhelm Koch|
|1970 - 1979||Ernst Schacht|
|1979 - 1982||Wolfgang Kreikenbohm|
|1982 - 1990||Otto Paulick|
|1990 - 2000||Heinz Weisener|
|2000 - 2002||Reenald Koch|
|2003 - 2010||Corny Littmann|
|2010 - 2014||Stefan Orth|
|since 2014||Oke Göttlich|
COACHES SINCE 1945
|since 2020||Timo Schultz|
THE SKULL AND CROSSBONES
FROM A SYMBOL OF REBELLION TO A PROTECTED BRAND
The skull and crossbones has become a symbol of the fans of the St. Pauli Football Club – if not of the club as a whole – that is known throughout the length and breadth of Germany. Leaving value judgments out of account, its history has been one of appropriation and commercialisation such as otherwise tends to occur only in the worlds of music or fashion.
It began in the mid-eighties, the period when the fan culture first took root at the Millerntor stadium which would later determine the character of the club and make it famous.
At this time a group known as the “Black Block” used to meet on the back straight behind the trainers’ benches. The group was thought to consist exclusively of residents of the highly controversial Hafenstrasse housing. This however was not wholly accurate, as it actually included a number of people living in the neighbourhood district of St. Pauli who broadly speaking belonged to the widely ramifying alternative scene. What came into being at the Millerntor was thus no more and no less than a "mirror of society", as countless sociological surveys have shown to be frequently the case at German football arenas.
One of the group in question, known as “Doc Mabuse”, actually did live at Block 6 in the Hafenstrasse, and it was he who first brought the skull and crossbones flag to the stadium. At the time this flag was the Hanseatic version of the widely familiar squatters’ symbol, and had links to a centuries-old tradition of piracy (in Hamburg associated from time immemorial with the name of Klaus Störtebeker). The message, then, was “Poor against rich”, “Workers against bosses” and the like.
The St. Pauli club once again rolled up its Bundesliga competitors from behind, and in next to no time had achieved promotion from the third to the first division. It even managed to hold its own there with notable success, in spite of minimal financial backing. This was exclusively put down to the determination of the team, and to the unshakable support provided by the so-called “12th man” – namely, the Millerntor fans. So the club’s fans cheerfully took on the role of the underdog, fighting undismayed against the overweening well-heeled clubs with clout, and along with this adopted the skull and crossbones banner as an appropriate visual identification.
This development was anything but welcome to the club’s managers and to older spectators, who basically saw the skull and crossbones as a symbol of violence. Nor was the official fan shop able or willing to respond to the rising demand for accessories in this line, restricting itself to the issue of outmoded stickers and pennants and so on. The fans then, as so often, took matters into their own hands: the independent fan shop founded in the 1989/1990 season put T-shirts, sweaters and other articles on the market which proved immediate hits in fan marketing, and what is more became an important element in the financing, or self-financing of the fan support network.
But even the St. Pauli club did not remain totally impervious to the Bundesliga boom, and at the start of the nineties a new company, St. Pauli Marketing GmbH, engaged with the task of putting what came to be known in modern parlance as “merchandising” on a modern footing – in other words, when it came down to it, to supply the demands of the fans. To start with the company entered into an agreement with the fan shop that only the latter should sell the range carrying the skull and crossbones symbol, while the company would limit itself to a traditional assortment of goods. But opinions seem then to have shifted, and the Marketing company bought the rights to use of the skull and crossbones (licensed rights by this time) from the former owner, a backstreet textile printing works in the Kiez quarter. With the founding of yet another company – FC St. Pauli Vermarktungs GmbH Co.KG – in October 2000 and the assignment of the rights of use, the rights are now vested in the club.
By now the symbol has even gained entry to the club’s official “Corporate Identity”. The “Starclub” advertising campaign, launched in 1998, gave the skull and crossbones equal prominence alongside the club’s coat of arms.
The high point of the story so far was the appearance of the skull and crossbones symbol on sweaters of the 2000/2001 season, prominently displayed in the middle of the collar,. That is the present state of play in a history that started more than 600 years back somewhere on the oceans of the world, was continued 15 years ago by beer-drinking squatters in a German football stadium and perhaps may yet end – who knows? – on the stock exchange.