The Disney Junior television network has a Peter Pan spin-off animated series called “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” In the show, a “merry crew” of pint-sized pirates work around various obstacles put in their way by the one-and-only Captain Hook. At the end of each episode, the “jolly buccaneers” gather for their video game-like reward for being the protagonists in the script, receiving some number of “gold doubloons” for solving “pirate problems.” The gold coins appear out of thin air, reminiscent of a video game.
Being a parent of a four-year-old boy whose Chistmas wish list was overwhelmed with Jake-branded toys, “pirate problems” and the solving of them immediately sprung to mind when I heard about the vandalizing of the FC St. Pauli team bus and the creative way in which they flipped an attack by a rival ship into a cause for raising wooden mugs of bumbo in a pirate toast.
Sorry. . .got a bit carried away there. All those cartoons can do things to a person.
At some point over the weekend, some self-identified fans of the relegation-threatened Hamburger SV took it upon themselves to decorate the team bus of their despised local rivals. Whether the action was spurred by opportunism, a general disdain for the smaller club with the cult profile, the increasing likelihood of the two clubs meeting in the relegation play-off and/or switching leagues this summer, or some combination of any or all of those reasons, the bus travelled to Düsseldorf for Sunday’s match against Fortuna with a big, silver “HSV” on the side.
Upon arriving to Düsseldorf, right back Jan-Philipp Kalla snapped a photo of the bus with the offending graffiti. The image quickly spread through a network of former St. Pauli players who remain in contact with the club, whether from a personal affinity for their experiences in Hamburg or simply though former teammates.
Amid much discussion on what should be done to address the matter, it was apparently goalkeeping coach Mathias Hain who suggested turning the existing addition to the bus into a memoir of the most-recent St. Pauli victory in the derby between the two clubs.
“It was a joint production,” said Hain in the recounting of the story at St. Pauli’s official website. “Someone suggested making it a match notice, and the idea of the derby ultimately developed from that.”
Of course, it’s one thing to decide on an idea and a complete other to execute such a matter. Fortunately, St. Pauli had just the right person on whom they could call, just as they did on the 16th of February in 2011 when he stood in goal against the HSV and keep the sheet clean.
“Before, I would have taken matters into my own hands and slapped a ‘FCSP’ over it,” said former Pauli keeper Benedikt Pliquett.
What the current Strum Graz keeper did, however, was reach out to a cousin who runs a youth center in Köln in order to get in contact with someone with the proper skill-set to right the wrong.
Enlisted to the cause was well-known Köln graffiti-artist ‘Captain Kirk,’ who travelled north to Düsseldorf to meet with club representatives before getting to work on re-beautifying the team coach.
The response to the alterations have been overwhelmingly positive, as can been seen in the comments posted to the story on St. Pauli’s Facebook post.
But, according to Kalla, you didn’t need social media to gauge the public reaction, which was palpable as early as the ride to the stadium for Sunday’s match.
“Normally, people always try to see who is sitting in the bus,” recounted Kalla. “But on Sunday, they looked only at the writing.”
The new-look bus carried a happy club away from Düsseldorf after a 0:2 victory to put St. Pauli just outside the promotion spots and ready to continue their climb.
The victory felt as the bus rolled back into their home city where plenty of HSV fans doubtlessly caught sight of the derby reminder will not show in the table, but is definitely a cause for celebration, nonetheless.
Which is good, as I’m all out of gold doubloons.