Sam Allardyce has warned West Ham fans that step out of line at Tottenham on Sunday that they should expect to feel the full wrath of the law as the controversial debate surrounding the use of the word ‘Yid’ rages on.
The Hammers travel to White Hart Lane for the first time since a small group of fans shamed themselves and the club when they chanted anti-Semitic abuse towards Spurs’ fans last November.
A fan of the north London side was stabbed in Rome just four days earlier in an apparent anti-Semitic attack while Spurs were there for a Europa League clash, and a group of West Ham fans sang “Viva Lazio” and “Can we stab you every week?”, while also hissing in an attempt to mimic the sound of gas in a sick gesture related to the Holocaust.
West Ham officials have warned fans that any such behaviour will result in a banning order and potential criminal charges, while the Metropolitan Police announced yesterday that police officers will be in the stands tasked with maintaining control and preventing any use of the word – positive or negative.
Allardyce echoed the club’s sentiments that anyone who decides to make such chants should expect to face the full consequences of their actions.
"The club has made a statement so you will suffer the consequences if you do anything like that,” said Allardyce.
"If they do it, I think that's very important that they are identified and they suffer the consequences.
"We live in this society today so if you're made aware of what's acceptable and what's not you've got to be very, very careful about what you choose to chant. If you're made aware of it and it happens you don't have any excuse.
"My message to the fans would be: support the lads on the field and forget about everything else."
A statement from the east London club spelled out the consequential punishments should any of their fans be caught chanting racist or offensive songs, and it made perfectly clear that they do not tolerate either from their own supporters.
"Any fan found to be acting inappropriately - including racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic behaviour - will be punished to the full extent of the law and banned from attending matches," the statement read.
"Any such behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by West Ham United.
"West Ham United is rightly proud of its world-famous support home and away and will not allow the reputation of the tens of thousands of Hammers fans who follow the club over land and sea to be tarnished by any unacceptable conduct from a small minority."
Despite the approach from West Ham seemingly taking a tough yet welcomed line with offenders, Spurs fans have also been banned from using the word.
The Spurs’ faithful often chant “Come on you Yids” or “Yiddos” in full support of their side, while all-time Lilywhites leading goalscorer Jimmy Greaves has spoken of his pride at being called a ‘Yid’.
Despite being warned at previous matches not to chant the word, home fans have continued the songs as well as chanting “We’ll sing what we want”, and following Gylfi Sigudsson’s goal against Chelsea last Saturday, the majority of the home fans all burst into the customary “Yiddos” celebration – something they have argued against as it is used in a positive matter.