16th February 2011. A date that will long live in the memories of St. Pauli fans all over the world. A date when the small club from Hamburg beat their biggest rivals on their own pitch. Whilst Gerald Asamoah grabbed the winning goal, it was Bene Pliquett who grabbed the headlines. Pliquett pulled off a string of saves to deny HSV throughout the game. That win on that night will always be remembered for Pliquett’s heroics between the posts. His performance was made even more remarkable by the fact it was his first Bundesliga appearance of his career, and he hadn’t even been on the bench for the majority of the games so far that season. His selection came as a surprise and proved to be a stroke of genius by then boss Holger Stanislawski.
‘Stani’ perhaps knew just how much this game meant to Bene, whose career had actually started in the amateur ranks of HSV. Following St. Pauli’s first away game of the season in Freiburg, Bene was making his way back to Altona on the train with some friends when he was attacked by HSV hooligans. If he needed any further inspiration for the game, that was it.
But that’s not to say Bene will only be remembered for that game. He was friendly, always happy to talk to fans, down to earth, a different type of person to the modern day footballer. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and his heart bled brown and white. He openly spoke of his love for St. Pauli, a love which was realistically a detriment to his football career. He was one of us. But for his love for the club, Bene would almost certainly have moved a couple of years ago when it became clear he would be number 2 behind Tschauner. But like many of us would be in his situation, he was happy just to be at St. Pauli, whether that was in goal, on the bench or playing with the U23 side. That is testament to his character. Bene admitted following his transfer today that it was extremely difficult to leave the club, but he simply had to for the sake of his career.
Good luck, Bene. You’ll truly never ever walk alone.
Note – our Bene t-shirts are on sale again for 24 hours only. They are available here.