The team of FC St. Pauli might not exactly be playing first class football, but they are still among the most popular clubs in Germany. The “Boys in Brown” have shaped the St. Pauli quarter like nothing else: wherever you go, you will see the brown-and-white jerseys and the skull and bones of the ‘Jolly Roger’ flag. The “Jolly Roger” stands for an entire district and the attitude that is deeply connected with this special place. The area by the Elbe river stands for entertainment, nightlife, eroticism and a life outside society's norms. The famous Reeperbahn street, the Landungsbrücken piers and the Fischmarkt markets are among the most visited sites in Hamburg and the Hamburg DOM fun fair is the largest of its kind in Germany.
"You'll never walk alone"
Right in the middle of all this towers Millerntor stadium, home to FC St. Pauli. The location reflects in the crowds that are drawn to every St. Pauli game: it's safe to say that the younger and more liberal inner-city crowd favours their boys in brown over the more traditional and suburban HSV team. Even lagging behind HSV's national and international success doesn't affect the unwavering support for St. Pauli. The team has a whole host of enthusiastic supporters. Ever a mainstay of Germany's second division, the club's merchandise has been selling like hot cake for years.
Tickets to the games are hard to come by ─ the 29,546 seats of the Millerntor stadium, located in the heart of St. Pauli, are almost always sold out. After all, it's the little things that St. Pauli fans are proud of: sensationally defeating Bayern München in 2002 officially gave the club the tongue-in-cheek moniker of “Weltpokalsiegerbesieger” (winner against the Intercontinental Cup's winner). It is this very special attitude that earned the club its international reputation. After all, which other European second division club can claim to have a Brooklyn-based supporters club?
Football and politics
St. Pauli isn't your everyday football club. Because of the urban, diverse and colourful crowds at home games, the club has always been a little more open to progressive political ideas than most of their opponents. Everyone is welcome at the games and the many bars and pubs that screen live games. No wonder that Millerntor stadium doubles as a popular location for art, music and fundraiser events. The Fanladen project provides the space for supporters to organise self-help groups, meetings and special programmes for minorities.