Guest post: Hertha v St. Pauli

“I’m an FC Union Berlin man” is the title of Mark Wilson’s blog. Mark recently left the UK to move to Berlin, and the Sunderland fan adopted Union Berlin as his new home team. Since adopting Union, Mark has blogged about his experiences with his new club, a blog which can at http://unionberlinman.blogspot.de. You can also follow Mark on Twitter on @UnionBerlinMan

What has this got to do with St. Pauli, you say? Well Mark attended the game on Monday night between Hertha and St. Pauli and we asked him to blog about his experience as a ‘neutral’ amongst the away following. Here are his thoughts:

We’re approaching the mid-way stage of a turbulent season so far for St. Pauli. I’m not an expert on any Bundesliga 2 club and certainly not St. Pauli. If you’re looking for a blow-by-blow account of the match against Hertha, I’m afraid I’ll disappoint. In much the same way I was disappointed on Monday night. Not by the fans (the St Pauli fans sang for the entire match), the teams (both of them had a go), the result (predicted at HT) or the effort (most put in a shift). But what I experienced when ‘we’ went one nil down.

However, before I tackle that issue, let’s consider the first 85 minutes. The first half was forgettable. Hertha shaved a post and St.Pauli’s keeper made a couple of good saves. There was some concerted Hertha pressure on the half hour mark but St.Pauli survived and went in at the break all level and would have been the happier of the two sides.

After travelling on a huge escalator (surely not needed?) the teams were back out and we were all hoping for a more interesting second period. If the game followed the same pattern a scrappy 1-0 Hertha victory was likely. I made this point to the lads – more in hope of being proved wrong. A pessimist is never disappointed and all that.

Unfortunately St. Pauli could not hold on and were undone by a fairly decent header although as usual in these instances you always question the marking in the box. St. Pauli lost their mini-unbeaten run and although they came close to snatching an equaliser at the death it was not to be.

On Sunday I watched Union’s away game in Regensburg. Thankfully without the commentary. A refreshing change just to hear the crowd noise – although my excuse for watching live football is that I’m learning German. Damn. Anyway, a 3-3 draw was the outcome. Union were reduced to 10 men. A decent game with incident. What I’ll remember though, was the music the home team played when they scored – I’d forgotten how much I hated it.

As is the case in the modern day I was able to ‘tweet’ this thought. It appears some of you agreed with this sentiment or at least appreciated the thought and threw it out there via a RT – not an endorsement but I’m guessing a few were. I then learned that Hertha have their own song that they play. I tried to push it to the back of my mind and not imagine a half-full stadium doing that ridiculous jig that only us football fans know how to do.

It strips away the beauty and purity of a moment and replaces it with a manufactured vulgarity. It’s endemic of our society that we take the natural and replace it with something inferior.  An emblem of the rampant consumerism that blights our everyday lives.; it reminds me of X-factor, reality TV and advertising in a moment when I should be taking in the joy of a half-full Olympiastadion going wild at a deserved 85th minute winner. It spoilt my evening. Much more than being stood with the St. Pauli faithful and seeing ‘our’ team (Union and Pauli are blood brothers!) get beat.

Kieron Richardson’s free-kick winner against Newcastle, when Sunderland beat their local rivals Newcastle for the first time in my lifetime on home soil, will live long in the memory. Not simply due to the result but because of that sound. That roar. A stadium erupting with passion. Together as one.

The ignomy of being beaten 3-1 by Middlesbrough and then watching the Boro fans, quite rightly, piss themselves laughing when we played ‘the music’ (James Brown I Feel Good) for a consolation goal, is another memory I could have done without.

Sod the music. Get rid of Song 2 as well. We’re not a bunch of lemmings who need to be told when to clap, when to cheer, when to feel something. There is a darker force at work here. It’s about pacifying the masses. It’s the same reason they reduce the strength of the beer to 3% for games like this. It’s about control. The DFB would have us all sat down with head-sets on listening to Sky commentators if they could. An over-reaction from a grumpy 33 year old? Quite possibly but then I question everything and so should you. That’s part of supporting Union or St Pauli. That’s why we do it. That’s why they love us. That’s why we love them.

Picture courtesy of Groundhopping etc. https://www.facebook.com/GroundhoppingEtc