A Concrete Crest and an Unplayed Friendly

—Translated from Alles Drin, by Christoph Nagel and Michael Pahl. (Hamburg, Ger. Hoffmann Und Campe, 2010)

Hidden amongst the trees in the Harald Stender Platz—the southern entrance to Millerntor-Stadion—is a curious concrete coat of arms… maybe you’ve seen it while looking through photos of FC St. Pauli online… maybe you’ve even taken a picture with it if you have been fortunate enough to visit the district. Its story is a small point of interest, only a little detail in the rich history of the kiezkickers, but the three-meter high monument has a tale of its own.

The end of the Second World War left the city of Hamburg bruised and battered; it was all a club could do to attempt to turn a profit. FC St. Pauli were fortunate to have period of relative success starting in 1945 called the Wunderelf—with the help of a local butcher, who also played for the club, they were able to recruit some crack players from Dresden and Berlin. As there wouldn’t be an overarching domestic league in Germany until the formation of the Bundesliga for another two decades, clubs played their football in local leagues; city, regional or some classification therein. Sides further down in the local leagues from the Brown-Whites were desperate to increase their operational budgets and were thinking up innovative ways to access FC St. Pauli’s new stadium.

Rasensport Harburg initially played on a pitch behind a local rubber plant, and then found themselves playing in Hamburger City Park—they had been around since 1907 and their president, who also owned a construction company, was keen on a match with FC St. Pauli. He attempted to buy his way into their new stadium at the Heiligengeistfield by presenting them a giant concrete version of the FC St. Pauli badge. A match was agreed upon, the monument was placed in front of the stadium at Glacischaussee & Budapester Strasse—there it stood until the 1960’s when the Millerntor-Stadion was built and the concrete crest was moved to its current location.

In the 1970’s, Rasensport Harburg combined with another side in the city and they never did get their friendly match with the Wunderelf from St. Pauli. Since then, the life-sized badge has been painted in the colors of the kiezkickers, brown, white and red—and had even been the target of HSV supporters the night before a Regionaliga derby in May of 2004, but made it out unscathed. Nonetheless, supporters of FC St. Pauli successfully took their revenge, painting the toenails of the grotesquely large statue of HSV hero Uwe Seeler’s foot, brown and white.

This piece was submitted by Joshua Duder. You can follow Joshua on Twitter at @JoshuaRDuder