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Club president Oke Göttlich thanked head coach Fabian Hürzeler and director of sport Andreas Bornemann for a highly successful second half of the season and said FC St. Pauli would continue to do its utmost for the football side of the operation. The economic situation remains difficult, however, compounded by the fact that the club has decided not to sign any more deals with sports betting companies.

“Forty-one points in the second half of the season is a sensational return,” Oke Göttlich told journalists at an end-of-season media conference at the Millerntor. Göttlich thanked Andreas Bornemann, Fabian Hürzeler and the coaching team and staff, saying the task now was to “show consistency and continuity across an entire season.”

The club president said an excellent basis had been laid for the future: “What we’ve created in terms of our scouting and medium-term squad planning through hard work in a positive atmosphere is an outstanding foundation to build from.” He also pointed to the tight links that had grown between the players and the local community despite their being a relatively new group. “They really identify with the district and its people,” he said.

Göttlich added that he was already excited about the new season: “It’s going to be another incredibly attractive second division. We’re really looking forward to a new season with six teams capable of attracting crowds of over 50,000. I can imagine the first division would also like to have clubs like those.”

“Covid has burned a big hole in our finances”

Turning to the budget, Göttlich said the club would be in a position to achieve its ambitions and objectives – in close consultation with the presidential board, the supervisory board, the finance department and the director of sport, though the underlying conditions remained difficult. “We’re still in the post-Covid area and the pandemic has burned a big hole in our finances. Conditions are very difficult and some of our sponsors are suffering from the economic uncertainty, too. It remains a challenge for us to meet all our on-pitch and sustainability goals while creating a positive atmosphere for our employees at the same time.”

Not a commercial club

Göttlich rejected claims that FC St. Pauli was a totally commercial club. “In fact, we forgo around three to five million euros every year on account of our attitude and approach, around 50 per cent of which comes from our refusal to the sell the naming rights to the Millerntor Stadium. In the sports betting segment, the contract with our current sponsor is running out and there won’t be a new one in spite of the financial challenges we’re facing. We’re taking bold decisions because we’re convinced that this consistent approach will pay off in the medium to long term, given that the credibility of the club and our brand leads to greater appeal for our sponsors, too.”

Decisions under constant review

“FC St. Pauli always operates in a tense environment, which is what makes us so unique,” Göttlich continued. “We have to hold tough conversations and be able to cope with that. That goes for every area of the club. We’ll continue to be bold in social questions and in the football and commercial areas and always question ourselves to make sure we move forward. We took a very courageous approach during Covid and brought out our own sportswear collection, but we always have to review whether it’s viable for us continue along the same path in the future.

“We have to consider what we have to do to remain competitive in the future in every segment, be it merchandise, marketing, catering and events, or ticketing. We have loans to service, a stadium to pay off and ticketing revenue from the Covid crisis to reimburse, which we intend to do. The club will tackle all these issues accordingly, and if we feel we have to change something, then we’ll do so.”


Photos: Witters