Since it was established in 1910, FC St Pauli of German football’s second tier has become one of Hamburg’s best-known exports. But it is not their football that has garnered so much attention. It is their unwavering fandom cultivated over decades that has made the club famous around the world.
Proudly anti-establishment, St Pauli supporters are united in empathy, representing the poor and downtrodden – a far cry from violent hooliganism common amongst football “ultras” in other parts of Europe.
Their focus on social issues and political activism is symbolised by the unmistakable pirate skull and crossbones that have become the club’s emblem.
They are unapologetically anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-fascist. It is these political positions that have given the club international notoriety. St Pauli were the first football club in Germany to ban fascist symbols from their stadium, and have since gained a cult following way beyond the Hamburg city limits.
Beyond the usual football chants and rock music, we follow the “ultras” of FC St Pauli, a beacon of hope in the midst of Europe’s rising far-right movements.