St. Pauli are somewhat a cult team in German soccer with a large following of fans for a team of their relative size. Known for their association with left-wing politics and their unique skull and crossbones logo, the club has been taken to heart by many who feel they are pioneering social change through sport. Long linked with punk and related sub-cultures, in the 1980s they became the first German club to officially ban right-wing nationalist activities in their stadium at a time when European soccer culture was plagued by racist hooliganism. Active in the charity scene the fans started the Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli campaign, which collects money for water dispensers for schools in Cuba, for clean water in Rwanda et cetera. The club also boasts the most number of female fans in German football and are known for their anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic and anti-sexist stance even going so far as to have adverts for the men's magazine Maxim removed from the stadium because of their sexist depiction of women.
The former club president Corny Littmann, long active in German theatre and head of the Schmidt Theater on the Reeperbahn, is openly gay which is something not prevalent in many professional sports, especially soccer, and in 2006 the club hosted the FIFI Wild Cup, a tournament made up of unrecognised national football teams like Greenland, Tibet and Zanzibar, themselves participating as the "Republic of St. Pauli". They have also made several pre-season appearances at the Wacken Open Air heavy metal festival which is totally in keeping with their club culture.
It will perhaps come as no surprise then that their latest good cause is designed to help save the declining bee population and they now have two beehives installed at their Millerntor stadium in Hamburg. Residents living within a 3km radius of the stadium have been asked to make 'bee-friendly' window boxes to help the insects thrive and it is hoped that this initiative will help raise awareness of the declining bee population. Andreas Rettig, who is the managing director of the club, said, rather dryly, of the project:
"Others have balconies to celebrate championships and we have them for the bees."
The honey will be called Ewaldbienenhonig, named after manager Ewald Lienen and 'bienen', the German word for bees and we think that St. Pauli just may bee our new favorite sports team.