Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has had his say on the controversial debate surrounding the use of the word “Yid” by Spurs fans.
Supporters have been warned that they could face criminal prosecution if they include the words in their football chants, even if the intended use is of a supportive nature. The Football Association are attempting to eliminate the use of the word following pressure from the Society of Black Lawyers to rid the game of its use.
But many fans have spoken against the intended prohibition of its use, claiming that it is used as a defence mechanism by Spurs fans to lessen the level of insult from the opposition support.
Greaves, who scored a club-record 268 goals in 381 appearances for the White Hart Lane outfit, has admitted that although he is not a religious man, he is proud to be called a “Yid” or “Yiddle” as it identifies his association with the club.
“People are trying to sanitise a situation for no reason whatsoever and if they are going to get arrested then I am going to stand up and shout it myself so I can be arrested as well,” he sold the Sunday People.
“They are chants in support of Tottenham Hotspur - that was the case 50 years ago, so why has it suddenly become offensive now?
“Do you seriously think that Tottenham supporters are chanting it as a racist remark?
“Up until a few weeks ago I dare wager half of them probably didn't know what it meant,” he added
Greaves, now 73-years-old, remembered how during his playing days with the club, he was proud to be called a “Yid” and that it had no detrimental meaning towards the club’s directors, managers or its Jewish connections.
“I played at White Hart Lane alongside names that tripped off the tongue: Yiddle Perryman, Yiddle Mackay from Scotland, Yiddle Jones from Rhonda Valley and Yiddle Jennings from Ireland,” said Greaves.
“Tottenham haven't got any more Jewish supporters than Arsenal.
“The only people who are really taking offence are the type of people who are looking for something to really take offence at - jumping on the political correctness bandwagon, going on television to try and make a name for themselves.”
The chants originally started when Spurs fans’ labelled themselves the “Yid Army” in response to some anti-Semitic chants from rival supporters. Despite the FA threatening criminal prosecution, they confirmed that no action would be taken over the fans using the word last weekend.
Spurs’ supporters also sang “We’re Tottenham Hotspur, we’ll sing what we want” in response to the threats of prosecution, and they are expected to continue chanting the word when they take on Cardiff later today.