Yorkshire is Brown and White

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I’ve lived in Leeds for 17 years, in Cross Gates for 9 of those. I love it here, it’s my home and I’m passionate about celebrating it. But I wasn’t born here, I came here for work, I’m an economic migrant from Derbyshire.

And I owe part of my ability to get a job to the fact that I got the chance to study in Germany. Like all British students at UK universities, I was entitled to an EU grant and German residents’ permit and went to University in Trier, near the Luxembourg border. And as a big football fan, I was immediately transfixed by the Bundesliga – the crowds, the terraces, the noise, the colour, the energy… and the cheap ticket prices. But one club stood out above all.

FC St Pauli was an ordinary football club until the late 1980s, when, in contrast to the rest of the game in Germany, anti-racist fans began to shape the club, rooting out discrimination and celebrating the team, the club and its fan scene. Since those days the fan culture surrounding the club has grown immensely and FCSP has official supporters’ clubs across the globe.

In 2010/11 a group of Yorkshire-based FC St Pauli fans found each other on the St Pauli UK web forum and after meeting up for the first time decided to form an official fanclub in Yorkshire. And after my experiences following ‘the boys in brown’ around Germany, I was one of one of them. So began Yorkshire St Pauli!

We meet up when the fixtures allow at the brilliant Wharf Chambers Co-operative Club, a little oasis in the middle of Leeds, to watch internet streams of St Pauli games on a large screen from beneath a concert stage adorned with banners, flags and scarves. We have also held benefit concerts surrounding the games, plus we occasionally play friendly games (very badly) against like minded teams. But the main aim is to enjoy the football (and everything else surrounding it) amongst friends and like minded people. If you fancy watching the magical FC St Pauli with us in Leeds, surrounded by lovely people from Yorkshire and beyond, and maybe drinking a Sam Smiths beer or two, we’ll make you most welcome.

ian-stpauliInspired by the actions of FC St Pauli supporters in the club’s home city of Hamburg and supporters’ branches across Germany, ‘Football For All’ was also started by a few of us at Yorkshire St. Pauli primarily as a means of connecting with refugees and asylum seekers who did not have the resources to access regular structured football. Our aim was a fairly simple one; to remove the barriers to football for refugees and asylum seekers. We did this by hanging out at the PAFRAS drop-in centre and letting the service users know that if they fancied a kick-about on a Sunday we’d pick them up and provide them with kit and cover the pitch cost. This was never an act of charity. Instead we saw this as a form of solidarity, a form of sharing something that we love with people who don’t have the resources to access it. The idea that someone who loves football can’t access it just because they were born in another country was something that deeply frustrated us and was one of the main motivations for getting off our backsides and doing something.

We have various means of communication, so if you have any queries about the group, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on one of the methods below:

Twitter: Follow us @YorksStPauli

Online: http://yorkshirestpauli.com

Email: info@yorkshirestpauli.com

Danke für das Lesen

Ian Martin

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