12/09/2015 – Nazis Stoppen!

Germany, not unlike the UK, currently experiences a period of racism, prejudice and xenophobia against those fleeing war and poverty and seeking safety in Europe. This is not least fuelled by the right-of-center, populist German press, just as we have the Daily Mail stoking prejudice over here. There have been more than 200 attacks on refugees and asylum seekers in the first 6 months of 2015 – varying from verbal abuse to arson. In Hamburg, there were ugly scenes when the Red Cross tried to erect emergency accommodation tents in the district of Jenfeld which again included verbal abuse and threats of violence and arson.
In this context a neo-nazi march has been announced for September 2015 which caused the FC St Pauli fan committee to issue the following call to fan clubs and groups (slightly shortened):

“Dear fans and members of FC St Pauli, 

Neo-nazis and hooligans plan to march through Hamburg’s city centre with the slogan “Day of the German patriots” on September 12th 2015. We’re not having that! 
The FC St Pauli fan scene stands for an uncompromising antiracist attitude. We will not and cannot accept such a neo-nazi/hooligan-demonstration which shows contempt for humanity. 
 
We therefore call upon all fans and friends of our club to contribute to the counter activities against the planned right-wing march on September 12th. We also call upon all fan clubs and groups of FC St Pauli to sign the counter declaration of the “Hamburger Bündnis gegen Rechts” (Hamburg Alliance against the right-wing). It is planned to distribute the declaration in large numbers at the home match against Fürth. This will form part of a day of action. Please join in with your own banners, rolls of wallpaper etc.
Let’s show clearly that there is no room for racism with us – not on the streets, not on the stands, not in the heads. Alerta!
Your fan committee.”
 
Yorkshire St. Pauli is proud to be signatory to the counter declaration of the “Hamburger Bündnis gegen Rechts” as we fully share the fan committee’s intolerance of racism and neo-nazism. While we cannot stand shoulder to shoulder with those opposing the right-wing march on September 12th, we will send solidarity and support this way. Antifascista siempre!
Nicole, YSP.
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Football and ‘Weisse Rose’ is back!

It doesn’t seem two minutes since St. Pauli held onto their 2.Bundesliga status in dramatic minutes at Darmstadt. However, it’s seems like forever since we did an issue of our ‘Weisse Rose’ fanzine!  The fanzine gives you the low-down on pre-season, last season, the squad, fixtures and updates on Yorkshire St. Pauli and our ‘Football For All’ project.

Weisse Rose: July 15

To open the fanzine, just click the link. To download, right click the link and select “save link as” (firefox) or “save target as” (internet explorer).

If you enjoy the fanzine, become a member, and help keep YSP and our great projects going!

FORZA SANKT PAULI.

Become A Yorkshire St. Pauli Member

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Membership of Yorkshire St. Pauli is now open for the 2015/16 season. Membership of Yorkshire St. Pauli is entirely optional, but it goes a long way in allowing Yorkshire St. Pauli to continue. Membership is open to everyone as long as you agree with and adhere to our constitution (http://yorkshirestpauli.com/constitution/). Whether you attend our screenings, whether you just follow us on social media from afar or you’ve bumped into us once at the Millerntor and loved our Yorkshire accents – everyone is welcome to join us!

Details of membership below:

COST OF MEMBERSHIP.

People who are waged – minimum donation £5.

People who are unwaged – minimum donation £3.

Please note – this is a minimum donation and we would be grateful for any additional money donate if you can afford to do so. Any additional donations will be split between the Social Fund collection and PAFRAS donation as explained below.

HOW TO JOIN.

Membership is available now, and you can renew your membership or become a new member by simply sending us your membership fee (see above for prices).

Membership can be paid either in person during one of our meetings, via PayPal to our email address info@yorkshirestpauli.com, or by bank transfer (please email us at info@yorkshirestpauli.com for the details).

Please note – If you pay via PayPal, please also pay the PayPal fees, otherwise we will incur a charge from PayPal for your payment which then means we won’t receive the full membership fee. PayPal should give you the option when sending the payment to say that you are sending it to “friends or family” and to pay any transaction fee. If you are paying from abroad and do not have this option, please pay an extra £1 and this will cover the PayPal fees.

Membership fees are not obligatory, everyone is welcome to watch the games with us, but if you can afford to become a member to help with the running costs that would be great. If you have any questions about membership, please contact us via email at info@yorkshirestpauli.com. We are also on Facebook and Twitter, just search for ‘Yorkshire St. Pauli’.

HOW THE MEMBERSHIP FEE IS USED.

This is the breakdown of how each membership payment is used…

£1 – £1 from each membership fee will go to the fanclub, and will be used cover costs of running the fanclub – such as our official fanclub registration with the club, the administration of our website and subscribing to St Pauli TV which allows us to show delayed streams of games.

£2 (and 50% of any additional donations above the minimum membership fee) will go to PAFRAS – Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. PAFRAS works with asy­lum seek­ers, refugees and local com­mu­ni­ties in Leeds and the sur­round­ing area, providing a range of services such as food, hot meals and vital help and advice to those who need it. You can find more information on PAFRAS on their website, below:

http://www.pafras.org.uk/about/background/

Finally, £2 (and 50% of any additional donations above the minimum membership fee) will go to the Yorkshire St. Pauli Social Fund, which we recently voted to establish. The scope of the Social Fund is wide reaching, but the principal is to help run social activities and events for the benefit of people outside of our membership and the fund will be used to subsidise such events for the benefits of those individuals, not the benefits of our members.  An example would be the weekly ‘Football For All’ football matches that are organised through Yorkshire St. Pauli, where refugees and asylum seekers are invited to play for free. The cost of subsiding this for the benefit of those individuals would be covered through the Social Fund.

We are aware that some people do not wish to donate to charity for various reasons, therefore if this is the case please let us know when you pay your membership and instead we will donate the £4 from your membership fee to the 1910 Museum – a project to build a museum at the Millerntor.

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Football For All – Removing Borders

For the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of spending time talking to other football groups such as United Glasgow and Mount Pleasant Park for my postgrad dissertation. I’ve also spent time applying for funding and chatting with funding providers and mentors. This has allowed me space to conceptualise what we are, where we’re at and what we’re trying to achieve.                                    

‘Football For All’ was started by a few of us at Yorkshire St. Pauli primarily as a means of connecting with refugees and asylum seekers who did not have the resources to access regular structured football. Our aim was fairly a simple one; to remove the barriers to football for refugees and asylum seekers. We did this by hanging out at the PAFRAS drop-in centre and letting the service users know that if they fancied a kick-about on a Sunday we’d pick them up and provide them with kit and cover the pitch cost.

As I’ve previously said in another blog (see Here) this was never an act of charity. Instead we saw this as a form of solidarity, a form of sharing something that we love with people who don’t have the resources to access it. The idea that someone who loves football can’t access it just because they were born in another country was something that deeply frustrated us and was one of the main motivations for getting off our arses and doing something.  

We originally joined a 5-a-side league but we found this problematic on three fronts. Firstly, we were getting smashed 26-0 every week (I seem to remember our best score being a 12-7 defeat which we were all super proud of). Secondly, we grew in popularity very quickly and we had about 12 players in our squad so ensuring game time was a nightmare. Thirdly, the rampant sexism, racism and homophobia, ultra competitiveness and macho bullshit in these sorts of leagues was precisely what we were trying to stay clear of. So after a few weeks we decided we had enough people involved to do our own thing and started a regular kick-about session on a Sunday at Powerleague in Leeds. 
The aim of this was to create an environment that promoted the values and politics that for the most part appear absent in organised football. As well as breaking down barriers for refugees and asylum seekers to play football, we are also concerned with creating an alternative where people can feel relaxed and enjoy doing something that they love.
What started out as a focus primarily on refugees and asylum seekers (this focus is still absolutely fundamental) has grown to be an environment that everyone can feel comfortable in and contribute towards.

Over the past few months I’ve realised more than ever before that our ‘Football For All project’ does just as much for a lot of participants who have lived in Yorkshire all their lives as it does for refugees and asylum seekers. This is because we have created new social norms within our environment where the emphasis is not on ability instead it is on fostering friendship. This has allowed people who may have felt like their face hasn’t fit into traditional Sunday league football to be active and connect with football again. 

This may make our project sound like a bunch misfits having a kick-about. But I firmly believe that there are more ‘misfits’ like us than there are people who tick all the boxes to play regular football for a Sunday league team. In tackling racism, sexism and LGBT issues we are more representative of people who love playing football than some of the teams we played in 5-a-side leagues will ever be. 

So what now? 

Over the past few months we have grown considerably to the point where we are getting 20-30 participants on a weekly basis. We have got to the point where although we’re financially sustainable (just) we need to look at growing. We have recently teamed up with the Hamara Centre in Leeds who have provided us with some funding via the Ignite funding scheme. With Hamara we are looking at ways we can expand with a strong possibility of moving to a couple of sessions a week.

They have also provided us with a mentor who works as a youth scout for Manchester City who has an array of contacts that could help us grow. We are looking at broadening out to perhaps include educational elements like our friends at United Glasgow do. 

We believe that working with other groups and with funding co-ordinators we will be able to replicate our project and the success it has had in various other cities across the region.

However, we will always maintain the ethos we have fostered at ‘Football For All’ and it will never feel more than a bunch of mates having a kick-about. After all ‘Football For All’ doesn’t belong to a couple of us, it belongs to everyone that contributes whether it be playing on a Sunday or simply retweeting our poster from the other side of the world.

Note – there is no Football For All kick about this Sunday due to a charity match organised with Suma Co-Op, see below poster. Please come along, attend, or even join our team!  

Chris YSP

 

FCSP – The Summer Of Change

It’s rare that we actually take football seriously – in reality football is just an excuse at Magischer FC, but following the scare of last season’s relegation battle here’s a rare serious look at the squad and transfer policy of the club going into next season…

Two seasons ago I stood on the Südkurve with Nick Davidson, author of Pirates, Punks & Politics, during the first game of the season at home to 1860 Munich, and Nick said he couldn’t get excited about the current crop of players in the squad, he couldn’t feel an emotional attachment to them in the same way that he had with previous squads. It was an interesting point that looking back is very relevant. The squad at the time had gone through a transitional period, with Ebbers, Naki, Morena and Kruse amongst other familiar faces leaving the club. Players who had spent years at the club, and almost become part of the club furniture. Two years later, i still can’t help but feel there’s still that lack of identity amongst the players. A lack of a fan favourite, of a team who the fans can get excited about and can bond with. It’s even more pertinent given that Tschauner, Schachten, Daube and Thorandt have left the club this summer.

The previous ‘era’ consisting of the team that got us from the 3rd division into the Bundesliga had a huge sense of identity and character. The same just cannot be said for the squad over the past two seasons, a squad that ultimately hasn’t succeeded. It may be an impossible comparison to make, because characters like Naki, ball winning midfielders like Boll and goal scorers like Ebbers are a rare commodity. But from the outside looking in, it appears St. Pauli has lacked all of the above since they departed.

Strikers

Two years after the club decided to release Ebbers, his goals are still to be replaced. Whilst you can’t expect anyone to find the form that Ebbers had during that promotion winning season, it’s not unrealistic to expect a striker to score more than a handful of goals during a campaign. St. Pauli have an abundance of strikers – and yet they’ve been selected based on who hasn’t performed, rather than who has. Verhoek (4 goals, 1 assist) and Nöthe (5 goals, 0 assists) both failed to make their mark when played, and by the end of the season the Thy (5 goals, 3 assists) was thrown upfront. In fairness, he took his chance and scored some crucial goals, but is he a striker capable of scoring 15 goals in a season?

Then there’s Ante Budimir (4 assists, 5 yellow cards) who the club spent a considerable sum of money on, who failed to make any impression last term. The 23 year old started 10 times for St. Pauli last season, but failed to score in over 1000 minutes of football. A foot injury ruled him out towards the end of the season, and it’d be a shame to judge a young talent based on a poor season when the whole team struggled, but he is a financial gamble that hasn’t paid off for St. Pauli so far. Arguably the striker (albeit technically a right winger) who had the biggest impression for St. Pauli last year was Kyoung-Rok Choi, who scored two vital goals on his debut before picking up an injury which meant he didn’t feature for much of the remainder of the season.

The club announced today that Nöthe will leave the club by mutual termination of his contract. He leaves the club having scored 12 goals in 53 appearances. The latest in a long line of departures as the club looks to restructure the wage bill in a bid to reduce costs after a drop of around €1m in tv revenue.

St. Pauli used 32 players last season, signs of the team having far too much quantity, and a distinct lack of quality. Of the 34 games, only Lasse Sobiech started more than 30 of them (31). Dennis Daube, next on the list of starting appearances, had 27. Further to that, along with Sobiech and Daube, only Gonther (25), Thy (22), Halstenberg (20) started in 20 games or more. The problem for St. Pauli last season was not a lack of options, but if anything – too many options, with no difference in quality between those options. Tschauner or Himmelmann? Maier or Rzatkowski? Verhoek or Nothe? On their day, one could perform better than the other, but was there any real difference in terms of quality? Who would be the first names on the team sheet?

Midfielders

St. Pauli have had an abundance of midfielders over the past two seasons, but none in the mould of Boll who could break up attacks, dive in when needed and pop up with goals from midfield too. Again, it’s hard to compare everyone to Boll, but St. Pauli were so desperate for that type of player towards the end of this season that Kalla had to step in to fill the void, despite the huge number of midfielders in the squad. Tom Trybull and Michael Gorlitz have left the club without ever really make an impression, and Dennis Daube was brilliant but frustrating in equal measure.

Armando Cooper never really got a chance with only 7 sub appearances, and his most memorable moment of last season was his waving of the ‘good night white pride’ flag in front of the away end at Darmstadt. Enis Alushi played, but then didn’t play, then played, then got injured, then didn’t play, and then played again. Buchtmann missed a lot of last season through injury and if he can keep fit he’ll be a key part of the team.

Nor have St. Pauli had anyone in the same vein as a Kruse, Naki or Bruns – three vital components in the team that helped St. Pauli to the Bundesliga since they departed. No-one who can add goals from midfield on a regular basis, who can attack defenders with pace. Marc Rzatkowski has the potential to be exactly this player, but he hasn’t quite lived up to his performances at Bochum – where he got 5 goals and 11 assists in 33 games. He’s only got 5 goals and 7 assists in his 60 St. Pauli appearances. He has all the qualities to be a destructive winger, to run at people with pace, get past defenders and cross the ball. But far too often he plays infield and ineffectively.

The club is hopeful of signing Waldemar Sobota on a permanent deal, and the winger looked capable in his 10 appearances last season. The club have also signed Ryo Miyaichi from Arsenal. The winger has pace, lots of it, and will hopefully provide a danger for us in attack.

It’s important now that the club looks to sign a combative defensive midfielder. Daube, Koch, Kringe, Trybull and Gorlitz will all leave, meaning the club will be short of options in the centre of midfield.

Defenders

St. Pauli conceded 51 goals last season, worse than both Aue and Aalen who were relegated. However the defence was massively improved in the second half of the season, conceding just 15 goals in 17 games, compared to 36 in the first half of the season.

The club looks desperate to keep the services of Marcel Halstenberg despite interest from Hannover 96, and has also agreed a deal with HSV to sign Lasse Sobiech on a permanent deal. Sobiech ended the season forming a solid partnership with Sören Gonther, and with Kalla playing well at right-back it seemed a pretty settled back four. However the club does lack options if any of the above are injured. Markus Thorandt has left the club, which leaves Philip Ziereis as the only other centre back in the squad. Sebastian Schachten has also left, but the club do have both Bernd Nehrig and youngster Andrey Startsev both capable of playing right back. Daniel Buballa started the season as first choice left back but lost his place to injury, and upon his return he was preferred playing in left midfield.

Goalkeepers

Not really worthy of a discussion and not even possible to have an argument. Himmelmann finished the season as number 1 and has agreed to stay at the club, whilst Tschauner has departed. The club has Philipp Heerwagen as a back-up, too.

Conclusion

The loss of players and a reduction in the wage bill is never a positive sign at any football club from the fans perspective, however it’s not necessarily a bad thing either. Out of all the players that have left this summer, i’d argue that only Schachten and Daube will be missed. Even then, Schachten wouldn’t have started the season in the first XI as long as Halstenberg stays and Daube is hardly irreplaceable. The club had a huge number of players in the squad, almost an unmanageable amount for a manager to work with. If you had to name all 32 players used by St. Pauli last season, could you?

After a couple of seasons of change, it is important that St. Pauli re-establishes itself on the football pitch. The clubs transfer policy hasn’t worked over the past two years, and It’s vital for the club financially that it doesn’t flirt with relegation again this year. For that to happen, the club must get it right. Ewald Lienen and Thomas Meggle are the right people to do just that. Lienen got the very best out of the squad towards the end of last season, and with a goalscorer and a defensive midfielder added to the mix, i feel that it’s a squad that is more than capable of doing well next season.

Then we can all go back to the important stuff, and stop worrying about our league position.

Scott, YSP

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