Kult Klubs Kommercial Kontract Khaos

Hopefully the use of those buzz words will get this article read by those desperate for a clichéd tale of St. Pauli’s marketing history. How can a club so aligned to left wing politics and anti-capitalism have one of the highest commercial revenues in the Bundesliga? More of that later.

But of the hundreds of millions of skull and crossbones shirts that the clubs sells annually (this may or may not be accurate), the club only receives 10% of the profit. Back in 2004, with the club on the verge of liquidation, they entered into an agreement with ‘Upsolut’ who bought the other 90% of the merchandising rights to the club, and in turn the vast majority of profits. For the fee of around 1 million euros, Upsolut tied the club to the deal for a period of 34 years. In 2009, the club started to examine the contract and took legal action through the courts claiming the length of the contract was immoral and Upsolut had taken advantage of the clubs precarious financial position.

Yesterday, the club came to an out of court agreement to purchase the rights back from Upsolut for €1.3m. A great agreement and very reasonable sum for 90% of your merchandising rights, which currently make around €500,000 per year.  President Oke Göttlich called it “an important milestone” for the club, saying it was important that the club had the rights “back in our own hands, so that we can act independently in the future”.

From a financial perspective, it is clearly a very good deal for the club that will aid the club financially for the future. Profit is always a nervy subject to touch upon when writing about St. Pauli, but only a few months ago St. Pauli were on the verge of the 3.liga and the club and fans were wondering how the club would restructure financially. As much as St. Pauli may stand against capitalism and fans may not want the club to focus primarily on money and profit, it is ultimately a major consideration for the board. We could talk forever about the balance between the ethics of St. Pauli and the need to be a football club that is competitive, and the reality is that there is definitive answer. But does this deal erode any of St. Pauli’s principles or ethics? Not at all. The club were losing revenue to a third party company, not a charity or a non-profit organisation. It’s not wrong to want to make that profit for yourself, rather than another company. An article (link) by an ‘expert’ claimed St. Pauli had finally lost it’s capitalist innocence.

The discussion over the balance of ethics against success will probably not be answered in my lifetime, but i’m of the opinion that it is this very discussion and this awareness that allows the club to continue to be true to its principles. At most clubs fans would happily sacrifice principles as long as it meant success was achieved. Not St. Pauli. The constant discussion on the fanscene proves just that. As long as the discussions continue to provide that counter-balance, then all is well at the Millerntor. The club can’t afford to ignore their financial responsibility as a football club, and to be financially prudent is a leap towards becoming commercialist.

It is those discussions that will hopefully steer the club in the right direction moving forward, away from commercialism and hopefully with more reasonable prices in the club shop and hopefully some more creativity in the club shop rather than just the totenkopf in a dozen different colours. As for those ‘streetcore’ branded shirts that found their way into the some ‘fashion’ shops in the UK at prices of £30 for a t-shirt, hopefully we’ll not see anything of that nature again.

Ignore the clichés and the headline titles that the club is eroding everything it stands for. Don’t believe the hype.

Other good reading on the subject:




Balls to Borders Football Tournament

12179775_10206692287039427_1884393984_nLast Saturday we cobbled together a five-aside team to play in and show solidarity for the Balls to Borders football tournament in Leeds.

After losing our first game 1-0 to Aleppo Wanderers we expected to play our remaining 2 group games, get knocked out, have a pint and head home. But Joe Wren (playing the Lee Cattermole role) had other ideas. Ceasing on a mistake/dodgy reffing he pinched the ball from a Moving North player and with the narrowest of angles he finessed it into the far corner. Who knew Cattermole’s right peg could be so cultured. Unfortunately shambolic team defending combined with the attacking prowess of Moving North lead us to concede a late equaliser.

Going into the final group game against Ghost Faced Villa (aka Ste’s pals from Sunderland), YSP needed the unimaginable- a win by two whole bloody goals. However, we came up against one of the most brutally unlucky teams we have ever faced. With the scores level at 1-1 a Ghost Faced Villa player from the Futureheads scored an own goal so horrific it ended up breaking the keeper’s leg. With a large stoppage in play to allow medical attention and for the opposition to bring on an Adam Lallana look-a-like in goal, YSP re-grouped to push for the 3rd goal. The corridor of uncertainty eventually came up trumps when the same player hit his own onion bag for the second time to put YSP through to the QF.

Despite some heroic efforts, particularly at the back, YSP were on the end of a 2-0 defeat in the quarter finals. However, all was not lost as our good mates from Suma ended up going to win the incredible handmade trophy that YSP will be getting their mitts on in 2016. So congratulations to the team and manager Gary.

Right then, the serious bit…

Balls to Borders was organised as a fundraiser to show solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers in Calais. The organiser, Sophie, absolutely nailed the entire day with a well organised schedule, an incredible/huge raffle and great food. Most importantly the organisation and motivation enabled the tournament to raise approximately £1500 for refugee solidarity causes which will have a massive effect on the lives and well-being of people who have fallen victim to border controls. Of this £1500, £490 has been donated to PAFRAS which is a charity in Leeds that has helped the vast majority of our regular players. We can only say a huge thank you to the organisers for letting us play a part in such a great day and thank you for helping a charity so close to our football team.

Finally, props to our bezzies from Mount Pleasant Park FC and Republica for playing too.

See you at Balls to Borders 2016!

Team sheet

Chris Webster (GK)

Joe Wren

Abd (c)




Lienen: The Boss.

It took until Matchday 20 last season for St. Pauli to amass 17 points – the current total after Matchday 8 which sees them 2nd in the 2.Bundesliga. St. Pauli had only picked up 4 wins by Matchday 20, a tally already surpassed this season with today’s 1-0 victory over Heidenheim. Thankfully last season St. Pauli picked up a further 5 wins in their final 11 matches to survive the drop under the guidance of Ewald Lienen, and it’s Lienen that has to be credited with the huge turn-around in the club’s fortunes.

Lienen has very much done more with less this season. St. Pauli lost 11 players from last season’s squad, notably Halstenberg to Leipzig for a club record fee, as well as Daube, Schachten, Tschauner and Koch amongst others. Such change could have unsettled the club, but it hasn’t. It wouldn’t have been surprising if St. Pauli’s rejuvenation under Lienen had subsided this season, but instead he’s continued the transformation of the club. The first team hasn’t changed drastically from that which played last year, there’s been no massive spending spree, but what has changed is the confidence of the players and the team balance.

St. Pauli didn’t have one problem area last season prior to Lienen’s arrival – they had three. Defensively they were weak, unstable and were likely to throw away a goal at any moment. They conceded 15 goals in the opening 8 games of the season. In midfield they lacked any defensive midfielder, and the attacking midfielders was ineffective. And upfront? No chances and no clinical striker meant the team averaged just a goal per game.

Lienen has found a way to make the team tick, to get them playing to their qualities. The team has only conceded 4 goals in the opening 8 matches of the current campaign, the best defensive record in the league. Sobiech, a key signing in the summer from HSV, and Ziereis have looked assured and comfortable. Buballa and Hornschuh have looked solid defensively, yet hugely effective when the team are on the attack – pushing forward and causing problems. Alushi, somewhat of an player on the periphery last year, is suddenly a key element to the passing and structure of the team. The biggest transformation though is saved for Marc Rzatkowski – the diminutive winger who had so often frustrated since joining from Bochum due to his many tricks and lack of end product. In a stroke of genius, Lienen has transformed him into the no.6 role – a defensive midfielder to break up the play, link the passing between defence and midfield and start attacks. I imagine it was like asking your big bulky striker in your local pub team to go play left back because your teammate is running late. What do you mean i’m playing there, boss?

But Rzatkowski has been the player of the season so far for me. He’s been brilliant in breaking up opposition attacks, he’s linked played brilliantly from the back, and he’s also got himself into some excellent attacking positions and scored goals. Between him and Alushi, they’ve allowed the other midfielders to shine. Maier has scored goals, Sobota looks dangerous whenever he goes forward and new signing Dudziak looks like he’ll be a danger to the opposition too. Lennart Thy upfront is a nuisance, who works hard for the team and has the ability to score goals when given the service.

Today’s 1-0 win was symbolic of the change under Lienen. Last season St. Pauli lost this fixture 3-0. Heidenheim were clinical, solid and the better team. St. Pauli simply couldn’t cope with them defensively, and couldn’t offer anything in attack. Today, the opposite was true. It was St. Pauli who were solid and professional. Heidenheim struggled to create a chance against the St. Pauli defence, and when the boys in brown got the ball they looked dangerous.

It’s too early to dream of the Bundesliga, and many St. Pauli fans don’t even hold the riches and the commercialism of Bundesliga in their dreams. But thanks to Ewald Lienen, we can enjoy the football again.

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.

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!



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