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
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
Downton Abbey series 5: George Clooney to try and kiss Dowager Countess in charity Christmas special
Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in the UAE for 'religious mistakes'
Doctor Who and the BBC 'promoting a gay agenda', viewers complain
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk