The notorious skull and crossbones standard isn't a sop to the city of Hamburg's seafaring past, but rather a homage to one of the area's most famous sons: FC St. Pauli, often described as the most left-wing team in the world. In the 1980's the clubs supporters were admired for their progressive ideals while the rest of European soccer was mired in racism and violence. The supporters were never interested in success, only wanting to compete with and beat the best.
To their fans in Hamburg and beyond, St. Pauli is more than just a football club.
While the footballers have enjoyed only modest success on the field, the club is widely recognised for its unique culture and has a large popular following as one of the country's "Kult" clubs.
St. Pauli enjoys a certain fame for the left-leaning character of its supporters: most of the team's fans regard themselves as anti-racist, anti-fascist and anti-sexist, and this has on occasion brought them into conflict with neo-Nazis and hooligans at away games.
In keeping with their party atmosphere at the Millerntor-Stadion, St. Pauli opens its home matches with AC/DC's "Hells' Bells", and after every home goal "Song 2" by Blur is played.
Supporters adopted the skull and crossbones as their own unofficial emblem, symbolising their attitude towards the richer clubs in the Bundesliga.