When Relegation Is Preferable: The Fight for FC St. Pauli’s Soul

Wearing denim jeans and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones so closely associated with the Kult Club’s supporters, FC St. Pauli’s manager Holger Stanislawski appears in stark contrast to his Bundesliga contemporaries who patrol their sidelines instead wearing slacks and ties, or minimally collared buttoned shirts with sponsor-approved club apparel. Having been with the Hamburg-based club since 1993, “Stanis” never left the Millerntor Stadion after hanging up his boots in 2004, moving up to the directors’ box only to later move down to the touchline to guide St. Pauli from the Regionalliga (3rd Division) all the way back up to the 1.Bundesliga. Some might say he’s the living embodiment of the club–a dirty needle sticking into the sterilised skin of German football. And now he’ll be leaving at the end of the 2010/2011 campaign. Perhaps this departure was a long time coming. Eighteen years with one club is a massive accomplishment in a culture that chews up and spits out its own faster than the trophies they win lose their shine. A cursory glance at the number of football managers sacked this Bundesliga season demonstrates that what might have been won yesterday means little today. Also at times, longevity comes with a comfortable trend toward mediocrity that deserves being broken for both the club striving to greater heights and the individual desirous of a new challenge. Thomas Schaaf and Werder Bremen–serving in...

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