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St Pauli President: 'We're Germany's most colourful club'

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St Pauli President: 'We're Germany's most colourful club'

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:00 pm


Corny Littmann rates as one of the most flamboyant and charismatic club presidents in German football. The actor and impresario took over cult Hamburg outfit St Pauli in February 2003, and has been battling to save the unique institution from financial collapse ever since. Before then, Littmann was better known for his work on the stage and later as the owner of a string of theatres.

<b></b> spoke to the 53-year-old about his club, the importance of the Cup meeting with Bayern for the third division outfit, and why he thinks he is in charge of "Germany's most colourful club."

<b>Interview: Corny Littmann</b>

<b></b> Corny Littmann, what are you working harder on at the moment, your theatre or your football club?

<b><i>Corny Littmann:</i></b> "I'm quite tied up with the theatre for now, because I'm appearing on stage every evening. I've actually moved the performance on matchday from 8 pm to 3 pm (laughs). Otherwise I don't really have much to do with Saturday's match."

<b></b> St Pauli hosted Bayern in the Cup just five months ago. Does that make this Saturday's meeting any less meaningful?

<b><i>Littmann:</i></b> "Any meeting between St Pauli and Bayern Munich is a very special occasion. I was certainly delighted when we were drawn to play Bayern, for a number of reasons. First, we have extremely friendly relations with Bayern, and it's always wonderful when we see each other again. Secondly, the match guarantees a capacity crowd, which always pleases our finance director. And for the team and the club as a whole, it's obviously a great opportunity when we're shown all over the country live on TV. That's not very often the case in the first round of the Cup, so we know we've got lucky."

<b></b> The friendly relations you mention are quite a recent development. Not so many years ago, St Pauli against Bayern would have been billed as class war in the media, and once upon a time, general manager Uli Hoeneß was greeted with a shower of coins at your Millerntor stadium.

<b><i>Littmann:</i></b> "It all completely changed more than three years ago after the benefit match [<i>when Bayern visited to help save Pauli from bankruptcy - Ed.</i>]. Our fans changed their opinion of Bayern overnight, and Munich are always welcome at the Millerntor now. The people here are eternally grateful to Hoeneß and the club, as am I."

<b></b> Why did you once say, 'St Pauli is Germany's most colourful club'?

<b><i>Littmann:</i></b> "There were a number of reasons. The atmosphere at our Millerntor is unique. We have a very diverse and multicultural crowd, you get people standing side by side and celebrating together who wouldn't necessarily ever meet in their daily lives. And there's also the fact we're in the Kiez entertainment district on the world-famous Reeperbahn, with its very special flair. In my opinion, St Pauli is the most lively district in the whole of Germany."

<b></b> What are your immediate priorities at the club?

<b><i>Littmann:</i></b> "Above all else, we need promotion back to the second division. We're also in the final stages of planning the reconstruction of our stadium, which is dilapidated to say the least. I hope work can begin in December."

<b></b> What do your fans think of the prospect of reconstruction at their beloved Millerntor?

<b><i>Littmann:</i></b> "There are hardly any dissenting voices. I handle the odd question along the lines of: where will I be standing in the future? But we're totally convinced we'll maintain our unique atmosphere."

<b></b> Finally, who's going to win on Saturday?

<b><i>Littmann:</i></b> "We'll win 7-6 on penalties. That would undoubtedly please the St Pauli fans and the neutrals watching on TV."
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