St Pauli: the club that stands for all the right things ... except winning
Hamburg’s self-styled rebels pride themselves on doing and saying the right thing but how much has the football been damaged by the global image?
There are two reasons the young man on the bicycle doesn’t register with me. The first is that I don’t expect him to arrive on a bike. The second is that I’m craning my neck to look at the roof of St Pauli’s clubhouse.
Three flags are flying atop the building. The middle one carries the FC St Pauli crest and club colours, brown and white. The one on the left advertises a crowdfunding project to raise money for underprivileged residents of St Pauli, the working-class quarter of Hamburg. The one on the right is the gay pride flag. While I’m squinting against the bright sun, the young man gets off his bicycle.
“Hey Uli,” he says. “How’s it going?”
I turn around. I’d last seen Oke in 2002. Back then, fresh out of university, he was working in Freiburg, south of his hometown, Hamburg, for a Sunday newspaper. He was 10 years my junior, but I liked him instantly. We had some good conversations about football and music.
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