-by Abram Goldman-Armstrong
A football club in a river port known for strippers and beer with fans with a rabid punk rock reputation? Sound familiar?
My first exposure to St. Pauli was actually in the mid-1990s punk scene in Minneapolis and St. Paul, when I saw punks sporting the skull and crossbones logo of the supporters that had been adopted by the club. Upon enquiring about it I heard tales of these crazy anti-fascist punk rock football supporters in Germany. I was intrigued, being that my leather jacket bore the crest of the Portland Pride, our indoor club at the time, and I was heavily involved in the punk scene, publishing my own fanzine and attending demos and shows; this confluence of punk rock and football seemed like a good deal. Over the years I learned more about St. Pauli and their activist punk rock fans and was fascinated, hoping one day to meet these legendary supporters.
I heard more about St. Pauli while living in Cork City in 1997-1998. One image, from an English football magazine of a St. Pauli supporter in hard hat and safety glasses due to the amount of things thrown, sticks with me.
Back home in Portland in 2001 as we organized as supporters in section 107, the punks and anti-racist skinheads quickly established the Zero Tolerance for Intolerance stance that exists to this day. Politically aligning what was to become the Timbers Army with the St. Pauli supporters. It was only natural in Portland to have a stance against racism and homophobia, so as the Timbers Army began to take shape we looked to like-minded supporters around the world as examples. Chicago’s Section 8 was an inspiration initially, and we drew on various traditions; as we grew and the MLS loomed large, St. Pauli’s example was of huge significance as we strove to find a way to keep our vibrant traditions and supporters culture alive in a more corporate league with fewer rights for fans.
Scarf up by the supporters container at the Millerntor
F.C. St. Pauli was founded in 1910 in a working-class quarter of the city of Hamburg. Like many European sporting clubs, it boasts not only a football club, but men’s and women’s rugby clubs. For many years it was merely a sports club; then something magical happened. A movement coalesced around the club to make it into a fan-driven culture.
St. Pauli’s political and organized support began in the 1980s as part of the squat defense movement. The cops were attempting to shut down a series of squatted apartment buildings by the harbor, and the local punks were determined to defend them. Barricades were erected and street battles took place. Many of the same people who were defending the squats would see each other at St. Pauli matches, and soon began incorporating political banners into their support. Eventually the supporters organized and created a unique left-wing supporters culture, an anomaly in German football where Neo-Nazis were all too common amongst supporters. Banners against racism, as well as in solidarity with Palestinians, were common and could be seen at matches. When a plan was made to knock down the stadium with its classic terraces and replace it with a “Sport Dome” in the early 1990s, the fans demonstrated against it and stopped the project.
Now St. Pauli is know worldwide for its supporters’ radical stance, celebrating gay and trans rights, multiculturalism, and the rights of immigrants and refugees. St. Pauli hosts the Antira tournament for anti-racist amateur teams from across Europe every other summer. The work the supporters do is far-reaching in many aspects of life. Their punk rock sentiments extend from their stance on social issues to their taste in music, with Cascadia’s own Scottish punks the Real McKenzies picked to headline the club’s 100th birthday party in 2010. But I’m getting ahead of myself – I still haven’t related the story of how I came to meet the fans of St. Pauli.
In 2004 I visited the Sinn Féin Shop in Cork City and picked up the CD Granda Was a Celtic Man by a band called the Pilgrims. On it appears the true story “The Fans of St. Pauli", a fairytale story of how a lonely Celtic fan was embraced by the St. Pauli supporters.
“The jukebox played the Dubliners and the crowd all sang along,
Each boy and girl in that Hamburg bar knew the words to every song,
They most graciously invited me to join their company.
So I spent that night and the next three years with the fans of St. Pauli.
By the time the night was over, the arrangements were complete,
I’d a squat and friends, a darlin’ girl, and a brand new football team."
–The Pilgrims, “Fans of St. Pauli”
In 2006, when I went to Germany for the World Cup, I was eager to find out if the song was true, and within the first few hours of being in the St. Pauli quarter I’d hung a Timbers Army scarf in an Irish pub, which did indeed play the Dubliners.
The best was yet to come, though. After watching England beat Trinidad and Tobago, including Peter Crouch’s flagrant foul on former Timber Brent Sancho (which was not called by the referee), pulling his dreadlocks to win a header over him, Katie Moody and I headed to the St. Pauli Clubheim to watch the next match.
Imme shows off her Sancho autograph
We soon struck up a conversation with Imme, who worked with the St. Pauli community outreach team, who happened to be sporting a Trinidadian top autographed by Brent Sancho. By the time the match ended, we were trading rounds and swapping stories and were invited home by the St. Pauli fans. Tonja, who owns a punk boutique, was visiting Seattle in 2004 and she and her boyfriend went to a Timbers-Sounders match; after hearing our singing, they came over to stand with us in the away support section in Seahawks Stadium, as the Timbers Army singing reminded her of home. Through the blur of Seattle Away memories, I did remember a pink-haired German punk girl at that match. The song was true all right, and how!
We soon cancelled our hostel reservation and headed back to Imme and her partner Mitje’s flat to sing along with videos of Gary Og singing Irish Rebel songs at the Jolly Roger, St. Pauli’s bar, and talk till the sun came up. We were headed south the next day, but I was invited back, and ended up spending a week in St. Pauli.
Imme and me in the Millerntor
I visited the Fanladen, which was part coffee shop, part bar, part zine library, part meeting space; this supporter-run shop had been around since 1990. There were football zines from all over, and Heiko showed me the Celtic-branded whisky the Scots had brought over for their annual Celtic-St. Pauli party, when hundreds of Scots descend on the city. The Fanladen was the center of independent supporter activity, organizing away travel as well as serving as a home to fanzines, including the Ueberstieger, a glossy full-color magazine.
One famous away trip Imme told me about was a trip to Dresden, where Neo-Nazi hooligans planned to attack the St. Pauli supporters. The generally punky-looking St. Pauli supporters dressed up in business suits and bought copies of the Financial Times so that when the train arrived in Dresden, the hooligans waiting for it were confused – where were the freaky looking punks with dyed hair? Just a bunch of businessmen and women got off the train.
Obligatory Scarf Up pic in the Millerntor stadium
The scope of the Fanladen was very impressive, and sowed the seed in my head for how our own Fanladen would eventually be when I helped bring it to fruition five years later.
The whole visit was inspirational on many levels – the generosity and hospitality of the supporters was exceptional, but beyond that, it was just seeing the amount of organization that the fans had achieved and how they had gained so much power with the club.
I met Sven Brux, who was one of the original organizers of the supporters and now held the post of head of security for the club. He told me, “It breaks my heart every time I have to issue someone a ban for pyro.” He also gave his own account of how the political activism at the club in the 1980s grew out of punk rockers involved with defending squats from the police. As he related it, the punks would see each other on the barricades at the squat defense, and the same people would see each other at matches, and soon started bringing their politics to the matches.
The new political fans soon made going to St. Pauli the cool thing to do. At the time (2006) there was a lottery for season tickets, with fans assembling outside the stadium for the draw each year. With the stadium completely sold out, it is difficult to get a season ticket.
Watching the Germany-Argentina match with Imme, Mitje, Sven and a bunch of St. Pauli supporters in an “Ecke” (small pub, literally translating as Corner (as in corner bar), was a very interesting experience: the supporters want Germany to do well, but being against nationalism, they expressed concern about the flag-waving mobs out on the Reeperbahn. As Sven explains, the last time there was flag-waving sentiment associated with the German team doing well, there were assaults on LGBT and immigrants.
Kein Mensch ist Illegal
The St. Pauli quarter is one that looks out for its own, and the supporters work to defend the rights of immigrants. A sign on one of the squats by the harbor decries Hamburg’s status as “World Champion of Deportations.” There are large detention facilities there where immigrants are held as they await being sent back to their countries of origin. “Kein Mensch ist Illegal” (No Person is Illegal), reads a mural on the squat next door.
While I was in St. Pauli, Imme and Mitje took me to the Kunst art gallery, where there was an exhibit of Repression in the Stadium sponsored by the Hamburg-based BAFF (Bündnis aktiver Fussballfans, or League of Active Football Fans). The BAFF is dedicated to fighting for the rights of supporters in all levels of football in Germany, including the right to terracing, fighting against data collection on fans and stadium bans, and also fights to make football stadiums inclusive places for LGBT and people of all backgrounds and abilities, backing initiatives such as Show Racism the Red Card and anti-homophobia displays. The exhibit really struck a chord with me. The amount of surveillance and harassment that European supporters are subjected to is astounding, but the fact that the BAFF united supporters from all clubs to work for common goals was really inspiring. When I came back home, I talked with folks involved in the nascent 107ist about organizing something similar and began reaching out to supporters of other clubs, especially with the MLS looming, and when Seattle hosted the MLS Cup in 2009 we got supporter representatives from Union Ultras (Chivas USA), Sons of Ben (Philly), Vancouver Southsiders, San Jose, Sounders, and Victoria Highlanders to join us at Elysian Fields to found what was to become the Independent Supporters Council.
When I began publishing the Whipsaw Timbers Army fanzine in 2010, I naturally began swapping with some of the St. Pauli fanzines, including the Uebersteiger and In the Streets of St. Pauli, the zine of Skinheads St. Pauli, an organization of anti-racist skinheads established in 1996. When Ian Joy joined the team, I interviewed him about his time in St. Pauli for the Whipsaw and In the Streets of St. Pauli translated it into German and published it. They also said some very kind things about various issues of the Whipsaw.
I got to hang a TA scarf in the Jolly Roger, along with other antifa clubs' scarves
Sadly, since I started Cider Riot! in 2013, I haven’t had time to dedicate to the zine, and couldn’t find anyone to keep it going. Thus I’m a bit out of date on the happenings in the St. Pauli zine world. St. Pauli connections are truly global though, and in 2014 while visiting cideries in England, I met Kev from the scrumpy and western band the Skimmity Hitchers in Bristol, and he invited me out to practice with his club, the Easton Cowboys. The Easton Cowboys are Bristol’s anarchist football club, with 3 men’s teams and two women’s teams as well as teams in cricket and netball. The Cowboys travel to St. Pauli’s Antira football tournament and host their own anti-racist football tournament each summer, and have done solidarity trips to Chiapas and Palestine. When I showed up to practice in my St. Pauli top I was in good company, as half the Cowboys seemed to be sporting at least one article of St. Pauli merch! Kev put me in touch with one of his contacts from the Antira tournament in advance of the friendly.
As I was writing this article I stopped by the Widmer Brothers Pub to drop off entries for a cider competition, and while having a pint there, began chatting with a German visiting Portland on holiday who lived in St. Pauli when he was young. He spoke of the resiliency of the St. Pauli quarter; he said that despite its problems with homelessness and poverty, the quarter sticks together. This sense of solidarity prevails amongst the supporters.
So as we get ready to host the fans of St. Pauli, I look forward to returning their immense hospitality. We’re hosting an afterparty at Cider Riot! to benefit the Immigrant Rights Coalition. There will be punk rock, beer, cider, and hopefully some great conversation. Yeah, I know it’s a school night, but we are going to show them the best time possible! Please join us after the match for music from Green Flag and pints from Cider Riot! and Rosenstadt Brewery.
St Pauli Quarter: The district where the club plays, also home to the red light district centered around the Reeperbahn (so-called as it was a rope-making center for the tall ships which once sailed from Hamburg’s active port).
Astra: The beer of choice of St. Pauli fans.
Fanladen: The inspiration for our own Fanladen – one part meeting hall, one part reading room, one part bar.
The Jolly Roger: St. Pauli supporters pub.
Moin: Hamburg slang for Hello, often “Moin Moin”.
Millerntor: The stadium, literally the Miller’s Tower.
Reeperbahn: Hamburg’s famous red-light district.
HH (Hansa Hamburg): Hamburg was historically part of the Hanseatic League of city states. Much like our Cascadia flags, the use of the moniker Hansa Hamburg celebrates this independence from the rest of Germany.
Kit sponsors: St. Pauli has boasted a slew of rather unique kit sponsors, from Jack Daniels to the Swedish punk band Turbonegro.
We're sure all of you are as excited as we are on the board about the home opener matches this weekend. It’ll be good to see the lasses and lads out on the pitch at home, and to spend some quality time with friends we may have not seen since the last time we walked out of the gates at Providence Park.
However, for many the excitement of the new season is tempered with a tad bit of trepidation. The board has received more than a few emails from people who are already dreading dealing with issues related to people cutting in line and excessive seat saving.
The Rose City Riveters and Timbers Army hold respect for others as one of our highest values. Often we talk about this in the context of larger human rights issues, but it also should be practiced in our day to day interactions with our fellow supporters and community at large.
Part of being respectful in a match day setting is recognizing that there are established norms with regards to getting into and standing in the north end.
When you go to line up, you should not be inserting yourself into the line in front of people who have been waiting longer than you. Many of us learned this in kindergarten, and it still holds true today: Don’t cut. Go to the end of the line like thousands of other people did before you got there. You’re not that special.
Once in the stadium we have an old adage: One Scarf One Seat - this means that you may save a seat for yourself and a seat for a friend. You may not toss down 2 (or 5 or 10 or 37) scarves across any more than the seat you will occupy and the seat your compatriot will use. Everybody has friends who need to work late or can’t show up in time to get their preferred seat: again, you’re not that special.
SG representatives will be on the lookout for abusers this season: if you see something say something. Find a board member or a capo or someone with a tifo pass and let us know. We don’t want to involve security or the front office, but if we don’t deal with this ourselves we may have no other choice. And then, frankly, we all lose.
So rather than draining positive energy from the stands via selfish actions, let’s all be excellent to each other and use that energy to sing louder, clap longer, and wave our flags higher - because, in the end, isn’t that what we’re here for?
Many of you know thirteen-year-old Dylan Mapston, the soccer player and Timbers fan in Arizona who has collected donations to provide comfort to children and families as they battle cancer, through his organization Keepers Care for Kids. Last year, Dylan collected over 500 toys and stuffed animals for Doernbecher OHSU when he and his dad came to Portland for a match.
This year, with a home opener weekend that includes TWO first team matches, Keepers Care for Kids will be leading TWO donation drives to benefit two organizations.
On Saturday 4/14, for the Timbers home opener, Dylan will be collecting new toys and stuffed animals to benefit Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, which is also the home to Providence Basecamp, where 107IST members provide monthly free CPR/AED courses. Bring your new toy or stuffed animal donation on 4/14 to the fanladen on 1633 SW Alder Street any time from 4-7pm to provide for children served by Providence St. Vincent.
On Sunday 4/15, for the Thorns home opener, Dylan will be collecting new toys and stuffed animals to benefit the Children's Center in Clackamas County. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Children's Center is a private, non-profit child abuse intervention center. They see children for concerns of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Children’s Center also teaches people how to prevent abuse from happening. Children’s Center provides:
Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Vancouver, B.C. — The representatives of the Cascadia Cup Council in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver have jointly agreed that the results of the following regular season matches will count toward awarding of the Cascadia Cup in 2018:
As in past years, the Cascadia Cup rules and tiebreakers for these six matches are as follows:
Tiebreakers are, in order:
The result of the Sunday, May 13th match between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders will not be considered toward awarding the Cascadia Cup.
The Cascadia Cup Council regrets that Major League Soccer made this decision necessary by scheduling an unbalanced number of matches among the three teams. Supporters of all three Cascadia Cup teams prefer a balanced schedule going forward, meaning that making such determinations would not be required.
About the Cascadia Cup Council: The Cascadia Cup Council is a recognized not-for-profit entrusted with the management of the Cascadia Cup. The Council is made up of one representative from each of the three founding Cascadia Cup supporters groups. The current Cascadia Cup Council representatives are:
It was a beautiful spring morning this past Saturday as we joined our longstanding partners at Friends of Trees to plant 220 trees across the Arbor Lodge, Kenton, Portsmouth, and Overlook neighborhoods of North Portland. While we had a handful of first time volunteers that are just getting stuck in (including some wee ones), there were many familiar faces that it was great to see and catch up with after the long off-season as we got dirty together in service to our community.
Our relationship with Friends of Trees has existed for a decade now and has grown and evolved over that time. Over their 29 years of service, they’ve grown in strength and effectiveness, and have a volunteer workforce that rivals any in the region. As many of the things we do, this relationship started with a member who was involved with both organizations that wanted to bring in a group of us to have some fun and do some good. Now, they know to call on us when they need help and we will answer the call with our spirit and vigor to help them accomplish their mission when they’re most in need. As the tree planting season nears completion, we’ll raise a pint to solute the great work Friends of Trees does and our honor to be their partner. We’ll look forward to celebrating their 30th year once the soccer seasons come to a close. You'll be invited to the party.
Just as this relationship started with a member doing great things wanted to fold us in, you too can grow what we have. As a member of the 107ist who cares about our mission in the community, we rely on people like you to be our eyes on the street, our boots on the ground, our drum beat echoing through our community far and wide. If you see something, learn of something, care about something deeply, raise the flag and let us know how we may be able to help. That’s how we do what we do, how we’ve become the organization we are, and how we’ll grow into the future.
Let’s do this, Portland.
Do you love soccer? Do you love the Timbers and Thorns? Do you want to play but you've either never played or haven’t played in a long time? Well, we at Timbers Army Football Club (TAFC) are developing a league for you! TAFC is in the beginning stages of creating a Recreational 7v7 Adult COED soccer league. Playing the game is the best way to learn about it. We are gauging interest at this point. This league would be starting the Fall season 2018. The league would be open to all skill and experience levels with an emphasis on player development of individuals who have never played or haven’t played in a long time
Our hope is to start with a field of 4-8 teams. We have talked with the Eastside Timbers Academy to hold our games on early Sunday evenings at their brand new state of the art facility at SE 174th just south of Powell. This facility has 3 full size soccer fields. The field surface is composed of brand new field turf. Eventually this facility will have a clubhouse with food, drink and futsal courts
Referee development will also be one of our objectives. We will financially support individuals who want to take the beginning referee class. These games will be a great way for these new referees to practice their craft in a safe non-judgmental environment.
In case you haven’t heard, TAFC is an official Oregon Adult Soccer Association (OASA) league with our own referee schedulers. Subsequently, all players will need to obtain an OASA player card to play in this league.
Advance players are also welcome as long as they buy into helping their less advanced teammates develop. If you’re looking to build a super team that dominates every game, you are NOT welcome to join this league. Sportsmanship, teamwork, comradery and community are the pillars of this league. If this interests you, please fill out the following survey: https://goo.gl/forms/TNgVpA5FdP9gu4Ef1
We will are working hard to make this league affordable for everyone.
Contact Dale Montgomery from Timbers Army FC with any questions. email@example.com. Please share with anyone who be interested regardless of their affiliation with TAFC or the 107ist.
For those that aren't aware, Timbers Army FC (TAFC) is the arm of 107ist that provides opportunities for roughly 600 individuals to play soccer and futsal in leagues throughout Portland, and it's been my primary focus for the last year or so.
Today marks a new milestone for TAFC. Previously, all of our teams have participated in leagues run by other organizations throughout Portland. Today, teams are playing in the first matches in the brand new, fully OASA/US Soccer sanctioned Timbers Army FC league.
We're starting things off with a 12 team men's league, with all matches taking place at Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland. As things progress, we're looking to potentially expand to offer other league options as well (our major limiting factor at this point is field space - if you have an "in" on field space at a reasonable price *PLEASE* hit me up).
This has been years in the making, and *A LOT* of behind-the-scenes work to bring this thing to fruition. Want to send a huge shout out to Scott Swearingen and Bill Packwood for their previous work on TAFC to get us to this point, Clifford Eiffler for helping with scheduling and other critical back-end pieces, Richard Sheals and Rachel Harrison for helping with the financial and putting up with my constant need to tweak that side of things, my co-chair Dawn Bauman for helping me concentrate on this effort to get things in place for today, and all of the TAFC teams for playing with TAFC.
It's (FINALLY) almost opening weekend, and Timbers Army folks around the globe will be watching as the Timbers take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, CA this Sunday night at 7pm PST. If you're in the Portland area, we encourage you to go to the Timbers Army watch party at Spirit of 77 in Portland from 6-10pm, where the No Pity Van will also be making an appearance. But that's not the only place to catch the game with fellow TA.
Here's a partial list of watch parties around the country and beyond, along with the associated regional supporter groups. I'll keep adding to the list as I gather more watch party info from around the country and beyond. (If your regional supporter group has a place secured to watch the game, drop me an email or hit me up on Twitter and I'll add it to the list.)
I recently picked up the new book "Superfans", by George Dohrmann, at the suggestion of a member of the TA family. While I'm still reading the book, I couldn't help but jump ahead and read the chapters about Nevets and Timber Jim.
The Nevets story is fascinating, and as Finn said on the Twitters, should be required reading for any Timbers Army member since it lays out what is basically the birth of the Timbers Army. I've gathered a fair amount of the backstory organically over the years, and I still learned about 20 new things from this chapter. The Timber Jim story is incredible as well. I've heard the story many times, and it still brings tears to my eyes every time. Love you Jim.
At the recent 107ist Board "retreat" (a nice term for an all-day meeting) a few weeks ago, a lot of talk revolved around culture - The 107IST's role in sustaining/supporting supporter culture, Timbers Army and Riveters culture, etc.
With the stadium expansion and 2nd NWSL Championship, we're likely to see another major influx of new fans into the North End just like we saw with the move to MLS, the MLS Cup win, and the 1st NWSL Championship.
There's an old saying "You don't know where you're going until you know where you've been". Know your history.
*As soon as I'm done with it, my copy of "Superfans" will be at the Booked library at the Fanladen if you want to borrow it. See you on the terraces.
Updated: Link to the book if you'd like to buy yourself a copy. http://a.co/933OSwT
If you're reading this article, you're likely quite familiar with the incredible (and in my humble opinion, unparalleled) match day atmosphere with the Rose City Riveters and Timbers Army. But many longtime supporters and community members still aren't very familiar with the extraordinary work the 107ist does in our community year after year.
We've not done a great job sharing the work we're doing - and we're looking to change that.
This year, you'll see from us a primary focus on Telling Our Story.
For 107ist, we'll be focusing on documenting and sharing the work we're doing in the community. And from Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, it'll be focused on the match day atmosphere.
Both in the stands and in the community, our members GET STUCK IN. And we're looking forward to sharing their incredible work with you this year. #RCTID #BAONPDX #GETSTUCKIN