A football supporters club in a hockey land
FC St. Pauli Toronto Fans are often asked when they wear their FC St. Club T-shirts out and about in Toronto, ‘What is FC St. Pauli?’ The answer usually is ‘FC St. Pauli is what every sports organization and every person should be.’
That usually triggers a deluge of other questions – but in a city like Toronto, where you compete against the big three professional sports in Toronto – hockey, baseball and basketball and “soccer” is the fourth sport – FCSP Toronto Fans have to be a little provocative. Also you have the competition of Toronto FC and Premiere League clubs. And since its inception in August 2016, they were provocative – in the best sense of the word – to attract members.
The 2016-17 FCSP season, the first season as a supporters club, also presented a real challenge, as the Boys in Brown struggled unsuccessfully for points in the first half. Cheering for a Bundesliga 2 team flirting with relegation was a true test. But it was FCSP’s culture and ethos that sustained FC St. Pauli Toronto Fans and spurred them on in many other endeavours.
Marching in the Toronto International Women’s Day parade two years in a row and having a presence at Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade introduced Torontonians to this unique sporting organization and the supporters club that follows it. Meeting for every match – tape delayed on FC St. Pauli TV – the curious appeared to take in a game, talk about German football, world politics and ultimately form new friendships.
On special occasions the core 10 or so supporter of the FCSP Toronto fan club, are visited by friends from Hamburg, Buffalo, and Toronto joining the club for a match viewing and fundraising for Viva Con Agua de Sankt Pauli.
There are also many occasional visitors from Germany, the local Celtic supporters club, Toronto FC supporters and even the local Bayern Munich supporters club. Freundschaft became a significant part of its existence in the second year. These friendships developed further as they took in Celtic-Rangers matches with Toronto Bhoys, and a “Liebe Fussball” event in February 2018 with SudKurve Toronto, the Bayern Munich club. Members from FCSP supporters clubs in Buffalo and New York City joined in to celebrate Bundesliga football.
Some members had the good fortune to be able to promote the Toronto club in Hamburg while attending matches. In October, 2016 some members took in a match, raised the FCSP Toronto banner in the Millerntor and formed many friendships. Other members plan to make more trips to Hamburg in the near future.
2017-18 started off as a struggle again. But the prospect of the first team visiting North America via Detroit and Portland has put the North American clubs over the top. It has lit a fire in them, which sparked the creation of NordAmerikurve, an association of all the North American clubs that includes a website www.nordamerikurve.club and social media platforms. The clubs work well together to encourage the formation of new North American clubs, and help to plan for the FCSP Goes USA friendlies.
The club will be spending the summer planning for the 2018-19 season, promoting and recruiting during Germany World Cup match viewings and Toronto FC matches. And they’ll be engaging in many charitable causes. They are even looking into establishing a sailing division like the St. Pauli group in Hamburg, embracing their pirate inner selves.
Toronto is an inclusive, progressive world city that embraces diversity, loves sport, and is home to a group of people devoted to the best sports organization in the world – FC St. Pauli. Join them when you are in The Six.