New York Times: The refugees of St Pauli


Last week I went to the Germany city of Hamburg. It’s pretty cool for a number of reasons, mainly because The Beatles went and learned their trade their for a debauched, “lost” 18 months amongst the strip clubs and dive bars of its red light district, the Reeperbahn. The other is FC St Pauli.

The Reeperbahn is part of St. Pauli, a district of the city that is known for its left wing politics, squaters, punks and anarchists. FC St Pauli has embraced its host’s radical identity. I first visited St Pauli in 2010 when I wrote a piece for CNN (including this video) where someone wrote the headline “The Coolest Club in The World”. It keeps getting cited as an example of how breathlessly enamoured foreigners can get with the club.

Still, I’d heard that FC St Pauli had planned to invite 1,000 refugees to their friendly game against Borussia Dortmund. So I went to the Millerntor Stadion and found a club who have been welcoming refugees to the club for ten years.

Here’s something I wrote for the New York Times about the club, its ultras and the refugees who are now FC St Pauli fans for life.  

And here’s a report for the BBC World Service’s World Football show, of me wandering around talking to refugees and increasingly drunk fans…

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