Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here, by Anthony Clavane
Sunday 14 October 2012
As owners and administrators, Jews have a significant presence in English football, from Roman Abramovich to David Bernstein, the FA chairman who succeeded another Jew, Lord Triesman. And there is no shortage of Jewish fans. But where are the players?
In this thought-provoking, absorbing exploration of what he terms "English football's forgotten tribe", Anthony Clavane reminds us there have been notable homegrown footballers of the faith, including the QPR tough-nut Mark Lazarus, but points to historic patterns of Jewish thinking, hinted at in the title, as one reason for the relative paucity. Immigrants who wished to stay close to their religious roots frowned on a game played mainly on the Sabbath, yet others who wished to assimilate into their new society had a desire "to be more English than the English" but felt football was too precarious a way to make a living.
Anti-semitism and social discrimination were factors; many players anglicised their names or kept schtum about their ethnicity.
Clavane, whose first book, Promised Land, was a brilliantly evocative account of his love of Leeds United, argues that "being a Good Sportsman and a Good Jew are not incompatible aspirations, and Englishness and Jewishness are not mutually contradictory". Amen to that.
Published in hardback by Quercus, £20
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
- 5 Mystery sea creature - with 'fur' and 'a beak' - washes up on remote Russian beach, baffling scientists
Top Gear: Former co-host James May to present new BBC2 car show
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
Game of Thrones: Leaked season six script introduces new 'red priestess' and hints at Daenerys Targaryen's next chapter
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture