“It requires a little bit of hope that this case is somehow solved immediately and that no one is forced to spend more leisure time than necessarily needed to think about Andy Grote” Maik’s words from five days ago are still ringing in my head while I am writing these lines. It came differently. And even if the event “Our football needs new values” did not happen as planned by the fan club fairnetzer.1910, the damage is done. But let’s resume what happened step by step.
After USP’s announcement and also after being announced here and in other fan blogs more than three times, the organiser and also the club, however, refused to take any action. The only information which was leaked by the tabloid media was that the event will happen as planned. No words were spent that the panel discussion shouldn’t happen in the rooms of the South Stand, as demanded by huge amounts of the fan scene.
And when yesterday morning still no further news about the event came from the club or organiser side, I inevitably wondered whether many people actually wanted to cause a meltdown with their eyes open. And the tweet of the Fanladen which was warning the club and the organiser that it was considered a bad idea to let the panel discussion happen as planned and which was released only six hours before the event was about to happen can be read in the same manner. And the Fanladen for sure also did this because they had become aware that even groups usually not belonging to the active fan scene of the FCSP had announced their attendance and which could have contributed to even more confusion.
Only three hours before the event was about to start, the club then announced that the event was now no longer open to the public. Instead, the panel discussion should get recorded and released to the public maybe during the day. But for sure, it couldn’t any longer be named to be a panel discussion then. And it wasn’t clear either if the event was still planned to go ahead in the rooms of the South Stand which still would have been contrary to one of the core demands of the fan scene. It didn’t, it was changed to happen in the rooms of the Main Stand.
And even if the event was no longer open for the public, there were still about 300-400 people gathering at the Millerntor to clearly state that something had terribly gone wrong concerning this event.
And yet, it didn’t get better even though the event was now about to happen in the Main Stand. For sure, an interesting topic for a panel discussion. But with a mixture of participants which can be frankly named as unbalanced as no one representing the fan scene was invited to the panel. And we do not have to bother any longer about Rainer Koch and mainly Andy Grote here. I greatly recommend the elaborations of USP in this regard.
But who is actually to blame stubborn here?
It remains unclear, who the person behind the decision that the event was still planned to happen in the South Stand actually was? Maybe the organiser was that stubborn and refused to move the event to another stand by any means? Maybe, the possible dangers with regard to protesting fans which could cause the event to not being able to proceed as planned were underestimated? However, I cannot really accept Oke’s official statement regarding the exclusion of the public. “The Executive Committee regrets the decision because the FC St. Pauli stands for an open and tolerant discussion culture and will continue to engage objectively and critically in discussions with people who are controversially seen in parts of the public and will act in accordance with the contents of important sports policy topics.” To be honest, yes, I agree that not speaking to each other is much worse than seeking discussion with -frankly spoken- controversial people. That this discussion is happening at all was never the core of the critique. In my opinion, this was, however, grudgingly accepted. The core of the critique was with regard to the event’s location. And the fact that critique is triggered in the fan scene when Andy Grote is allowed to disseminate his opinion on the South Stand comes with no surprise. But the questions remain: Why did no one warn the organiser that problems might be caused due to the panel participants? And why wasn’t the location of the event changed after the regarding critique was raised?
Sure, a relocation of the event would not have changed the fact that the whole event would still have been accompanied by warning critique. But it could have been avoided that all went unworthily haywire which clearly wasn’t good for the club. Not good at all. A quick gaze into today’s tabloid papers confirms this assumption.
Yes, we need a discussion culture – but the setting has to be the right one!
Yes, we are clearly in need of a discussion culture. Even with people, we can hardly accept. Andy Grote is, although I am quite reluctant to write it, an important person for FCSP due to his role as Hamburg’s senator of sports, especially when it comes to new sports facilities (which we need urgently). Thus, a lively discussion is essential. Even if we don’t want it. And this is why it’s generally a good thing that a fan club such as the fairnetzer.1910 creates a setting for such a discussion. But the setting has to be the right one. And yesterday’s original setting wasn’t right because it was planned to happen in the rooms of the South Stand.
But yet, there are for sure different views imaginable. And even if I greatly desire it, I am sure that not all FCSP’s fans share my opinion regarding the panel discussion. There will rather be many FCSP fans who are annoyed that other fans were complaining about the location of the event. Their arguments are rather of the opinion that we as the fan scene have to cope with such decisions. Just in the same way as others (frankly said) have to cope with the fact that pyros are used during the derby. This is a usual part of a club with a diverse fan scene. I do not share this opinion, not at all. But these opinions are out there and we have to deal with them.
The inner life doesn’t match the public representation
The headlines in the news about the decision to exclude the public from the panel discussion clearly show that there have to be plenty out there sharing these opinions. Unfortunately, not everyone is a reader of the MillernTon / magischerfcblog / Kleiner Tod / Kiezkicker / OutOfControl etc. and forms their opinion based on what’s written in these blogs. There are many fans of the FCSP, who exclusively read the MOPO (*a tabloid paper from Hamburg) as the only source to get informed about the FCSP. And just read their headlines on the actual topic (“Fire alarm after protests of ULTRAS against a panel discussion of St. Pauli” or “After ULTRA-menaces: panel discussion happens without spectators”) it must become clear after that which picture of us (the ULTRA aficionados) emerges for the readers of such articles. And I didn’t even bother to write about the unbearable headlines of other print-media out there.
Or let’s put it differently: How often did you talk to other people who are not really in to the FCSP about your life as a fan such as accompanying and supporting your team away or that you are a supporter from the South Stand or that you think that pyro is quite fancy? And how often did this trigger reactions which are totally in lack of any understanding? Spoken of me personally, I often had to assure others that the active fan scene of the FCSP is not an assembling of anarchists ready to use violence, which beats the fuck out of everyone who isn’t sharing their opinion. But this is their picture of us shared by many. Even within the FCSP fan scene.
We are not allowed to forget that we, however, know that our ULTRAs are good boys & girls (they undoubtedly stated that they are clearly backing discussions), who have a sophisticated view about many things. However, this is not known to the many and not even recognised by the local media and thus not made clear to every member of the fan scene of the FCSP.
A headline such as “Executive Committee changes location of the event after critique raised by Ultras” (and this is for sure one of the more gentle headlines) is completely differently taken by different people. But we know that 1st this critique was absolutely justified and 2nd what was demanded to get changed by the Ultras wasn’t unachievable. But unfortunately, we have to assume that many people read this headline as “Oke chickened out because of the Ultras” (if this isn’t one of today’s headlines in the media at all).
And these are the headlines we have to avoid. Which could have been avoided anyway already when the planning of such an event started. But this could have been interpreted as chickening out due to the Ultras by some if already during the planning stage it’s taken into account that certain people shouldn’t be invited to a panel discussion which is supposed to happen in the rooms of the South Stand (and this from my point of view a realistic scenario of how it was actually possible that such things happened the way they did). And for sure there are people involved who are not clearly in favour of the fact that we have an “executive committee run by fans” and a “supervisory board with fan members”. People who would love to abolish these things. People who would immediately take the millions offered in a deal to sell the stadium’s name and who would add some brown-blue paperboard clapping devices for the next derby which have “hsv & pauli – we love Hamburg” printed-on on top. But the Executive Committee has to find a way in dealing with these people, as they are also members of the club and as such represented by the Executive Committee.
I do not want to claim that there weren’t any mistakes made during the planning of the event and later on. Of course, the whole event was a completely miserable idea which should have been hindered already at an earlier stage. But I also want to point out that this might not be the shared opinion of every single fan of the FCSP. Because at least, the fan club fairnetzer.1910 kept on thinking that the event was a brilliant idea, even after some critique about the event’s location was raised. At least the organiser Joachim Weretka stated to the MOPO on Monday that “Until now, no change is planned”. For sure, you’ll need a lot of stubbornness if not even the will to provoke to ignore the clear critique.
And the Executive Committee of the club also stuck to these plans for too long. Much too long. Oke was willing to join the panel with Grote and Koch and without any further fan representative, despite all critique. Even if it is important that discussions with unpleasant panel members are lead (which is a duty that I do not envy our exec committee for) and even if there are fans at the FCSP who think that such panel discussions are just about right, the combination of unpleasant panel members and the location of the event was too much to be accepted by the active fan scene and overall a clear mistake. I am sure that everyone will learn from this experience, we all paid a huge price yesterday as regarding what was presented to the outer public can only be considered as miserable for everyone.
If there’s anything positive to be taken from yesterday’s evening at all than the fact that there were 300-400 people of St. Pauli gathering to closely stand for “our values”.
//Tim (translated by @Parneq)