May 19, 2018
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
Detroit City FC 2, FC St. Pauli 6
DCFC Trevor Amann 8′
FCSP Sami Allagui 21′
FCSP Seungwon Lee 28′
FCSP Sami Allagui 32′
FCSP Waldemar Sobota 53′
FCSP Dimitrious Diamantakos 66′
DCFC Rafael Mentzingen 85′
FCSP Seungwon Lee 88′
As a contrast to my rant on the previous match’s page about football supporters in America, our next match was a friendly against FC St. Pauli.
FC St. Pauli. There is so much one could write about this team. On the surface, it looks like a typical European football club, situated in the St. Pauli quarter of Hamburg, with a history of floating in the mid-tables of second-division German soccer and the rare promotion to the Bundesliga, only to be relegated back the next season. Its home grounds – the Millerntor – is most always filled to its 32,000 seat capacity.
However, in the 1980’s the squatting movement was strong, especially in Hamburg. After an important battle by the squatters was won in Hafenstraße – an area around Hamburg’s port – people involved in the protests held together in solidarity within the community and continued to meet through the decade. They began going to FC St. Pauli matches, outnumbering the thousand or so that usually attended, and began to influence the culture. A team supported by fans with mohawk hairstyles, studded leather jackets, and Che Guevara flags drew the attention of like-minded fans and activists. The skull and crossbones became the supporters’ logo, they drew the attention of punk rock bands and its culture which increased the team’s popularity worldwide. FC St. Pauli groups exist all around the globe (including Detroit).
The supporters and team take a strong political stance; anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist, and pro-refugee. Sometimes, this has created conflict with neo-Nazis and hooligans at road games. The team’s strong statement is memorialized in its Guiding Principles.
This lengthy history is better suited to books and such, and I’d recommend Nick Davidson’s Pirates, Punks, & Politcs about FC St. Pauli, and a couple of good pieces in Gabriel Kuhn’s Soccer vs. The State (which also has a good section about a previous international visitor – FC United of Manchester.)
It is a massive honor and thrill to have FC St. Pauli here in Detroit.
The festivities began the day before, with a FC St. Pauli supporters meet-up at 2:30 PM at Third Man Records in Hamtramck. Then, an opening night reception was held at Detroit City Distillery in Detroit’s Eastern Market, with supporters and players from both teams in attendance.
The denim jackets they were selling looked cool, so I bought one for my son, who lived for a few weeks at Occupy Detroit in 2011. Though not a sports fan, he was thrilled with the jacket.
The evening concluded with a concert at St. Andrews Hall featuring the punk band, Rise Against, sponsored by FC St. Pauli.
On Match Day, a panel on The Future of Supporter- Based Football was held at 11AM at Amnesia, within the MotorCity Casino. I missed this event, and am sorry I did.
Then came the match, which was televised on FoxSports Detroit. When I arrived at the Fowling Warehouse, it began to rain. Then it stopped and the sun blazed high and hot. At Keyworth, it rained again with the sun in the sky.
See. I told you he liked the jacket. I gave my rainbow FC St. Pauli-Detroit City FC scarf to my grandson, Dean, after the match, which he loves.
The match was pretty one-sided, as expected, but only for those ninety-minutes did Detroit City FC and the Northern Guard Supporters oppose FC St. Pauli. And vice versa.
The day wrapped up with a post-match party at the Magic Stick in Detroit. This was just another fantastic international friendly on so many levels. So much so, I entered the eBay auction for FC St. Pauli jerseys and won defender Christopher Avevor’s.