It was in the mid-1980s that St. Pauli’s transition from a traditional club into a “Kult” club began. The club was also able to turn the location of its ground in the dock area part of town, near Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn — centre of the city’s night life and its red-light district — to its advantage. An alternative fan scene emerged, built around left-leaning politics, social activism and the event and party atmosphere of the club’s matches. Supporters adopted the skull and crossbones as their own unofficial emblem. St. Pauli became the first team in Germany to officially ban right-wing nationalist activities and displays in its stadium in an era when fascist-inspired football hooliganism threatened the game across Europe. In 1981, the team was averaging crowds of only 1,600 spectators: by the late 1990s they were frequently selling out their entire 20,000-capacity ground.
The Skull and Crossbones symbol had always been associated with St Pauli in one way or another. Hamburg fostered the most famous pirate of Germany Klaus Störtebeker and the symbol had been used by the house occupants at Hafenstrasse, but the one who should be credited with finally bringing the symbol to the terraces is probably Doc Mabuse, the singer of a Hamburg punk band. As the legend tells, he first grabbed the flag from a stall while passing drunk through the Dom on his way to the Millerntor-Stadion.
Now that’s my team!
Listening to Acid Pauli, a set from Suma Beach, Istanbul. Now that’s my D.J.! Seriously Acid Pauli is Well Weapon!