Opinion: Stoke City and Port Vale can learn much from St Pauli’s principles

Opinion: Stoke City and Port Vale can learn much from St Pauli’s principles

Columnist Malcolm Hirst’s second side is cult German outfit St Pauli so how did he react when they announced a partnership with Stoke City?

Malcolm Hirst writes…

Making difficult decisions is part of life. These can be at work, home or in our social lives. There are times when the decisions we face go to the very core of us as people, a kind of moral or ethical dilemma. A recent situation like this arose for me when Bundesliga 2 team FC St Pauli announced a partnership with Stoke City.

To raise awareness amongst Stoke fans of these principles held by the St Pauli club and fan base can only be positive. It would be an awareness I’d love to see promoted more vibrantly at Vale…

St Pauli have been my “second” team for around seven  years. I was introduced by Vale friends who made regular pilgrimages to Germany to watch this somewhat cult club. The attractions for me were weekends away with friends, watching football in safe standing areas with a pint in my hand, and the left-wing politics that are at the core of both the club and the fan base.

When the partnership was announced I had plenty of texts and emails asking “what would I do?”

In essence, could I still support a team that had chosen to lie in bed with our biggest rivals? Although  I’ll admit, it was very satisfying to see St Pauli beat Stoke 4-2 this week.

After much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t let this partnership curtail my passion for St Pauli. In fact, I can see that there will be positives for my home city. St Pauli as a club will always stand up for the poor and the oppressed in society. It will take a stand against racism and homophobia. To raise awareness amongst Stoke fans of these principles held by the St Pauli club and fan base can only be positive. It would be an awareness I’d love to see promoted more vibrantly at Vale.

There is a slogan doing the rounds at the moment.

No place for

Homophobia

Fascism

Sexism

Racism

If I meet a Stoke City fan who holds these principles then I will be quite happy to shake their hand.

That said another principle will also hold firm.

Stoke is Black & White

Hamburg is Brown & White.

This column represents the columnist’s personal views and not necessarily those of the Port Vale Supporters Club.

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