On Sunday, St. Pauli held its annual meeting of members and business meeting. As a club that bases its business on its fans, media and observers watched the meeting as a source of information on the overall feeling of the club’s direction. Sitting in last in the German second division, the former Bundesliga club faces doubt on its path forward.
Financially, the club had a good year according to the auditors. The club generated an operating budget profit of €3m, with a large part of that from the sale of Marcel Halstenberg to Leipzig. The club’s restructured marketing also helped with the financial bottom line.
For the fan’s group, the meeting was another opportunity to vote on a series of motions to modify or end agreements with companies that according to some fans had questionable business practices. One such company was Under Armor, who of course sells hunting gear and exhibits at gun shows. A fan motion to immediately terminate the relationship with the team’s kit supplier was defeated. The motion did highlight, however, the tough balancing act the club has between accepting corporate sponsorship and maintaining the alt-left cult status its brand is based on.
President Ole Göttlich addressed the crown on Sunday as these business items were occurring to paint a positive picture of the club. Addressing the current team, he expressed an optimism in their work: “We believe in every one of you. To your strengths and abilities. We are absolutely convinced that you will get the points you need.” He followed this up by explaining the recent staff realignment and how he felt this could only strengthen the club’s chances of staying up.
On the financial front, he reiterated the positive balance for the last fiscal year and praised the club’s work with sponsors. The deals with the kit sponsors and suppliers helped the team remain financially competitive, but not all was positive. Göttlich noted the jump in player fees of 50% as reason why acquiring new talent was tough in the current market, and noted long-term financial liabilities that continue to hamper the club.
The president thanked the fans for their dedication to the team and community:
I want to thank you. Thank you for being St. Pauli and St. Pauli. That you bring countless hours of voluntary commitment to this club. Without you the club would not be what it is.And for this club it is worth fighting. So let’s get close together, just as the wind increases. Let us take [manager] Ewald [Lienen] and the team in the middle and together to achieve the big goal.