Tottenham fans: Why get rid of Yid?

Chanting “Yiddos” can’t reclaim the term - it only goads opposing fans who need little excuse to lower themselves to the depths of racist abuse

Share

Before the start of the football season, perhaps mindful of its shocking handling of the Luis Suárez/Patrice Evra racism affair, Liverpool issued a list of “unacceptable words” for fans to avoid chanting at Anfield. It contained all the usual sorry suspects such as the ‘N-word’ and Yid.

You’d have to misplace your moral compass to think these slurs have any place in a sports stadium, or anywhere in the civilised world. Unless, that is, you’re a wilfully wrongheaded Tottenham fan. Support Spurs you must convince yourself that “Yid” is the arbitrary exception.

Last week the Football Association warned fans that chanting the word “Yid” could result in a criminal conviction.

Cue inevitable objections from Spurs’ self-styled “Yid Army”, condoning in a stadium what they couldn’t on the street – dressing prejudice up in a lilywhite kit and calling it camaraderie.

The word stains the soul of every supporter who wears it with honour. Even the tiny minority of fans aware of its origins (a derogatory German term for ‘Jew’, used pejoratively since the 1890s, when Jewish immigrants from the East End began supporting the club) like to believe that by making “Yid Army” a signature tune alongside “When The Spurs Go Marching In”, they are ingeniously removing its sting. They know not what they do. The opposite is true.

Chanting “Yiddos” can’t reclaim the term any more than Brighton fans singing “We’re just a town full of faggots” reclaims the homophobia the city endures from opposing fans on account of its gay community.

On Saturday Tottenham fans eagerly ignored the FA’s directive, chanting the word during their match against Norwich.

Tellingly, there wouldn’t have been a single Jewish fan in the stadium as the game was played on Yom Kippur, the most religious day in the Jewish calendar.

Such stubborn stupidity goads opposing fans who need little excuse to lower themselves to the depths of racist abuse. Note Chelsea’s Yid-inspired version of “Spurs Are One Their Way To Wembley”: “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz, Sieg Heil, Hitler’s going to gas them again.”

A glance at Google reveals a litany of Yid-inspired abuse. West Ham fans sung Hitler’s name and made hissing noises – mimicking the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust – during a match at White Hart Lane last November.

The same month, Leeds fans took to Twitter to brand Tottenham player Adam Smith “a f****** diving Yid slag”.

In December, Huddersfield Town fan Gareth Smith found guilty of making a Hitler salute during match with local rivals Leeds United.

And Tottenham’s Jewish chairman Daniel Levy received so much “greedy, money-grabbing Yid” abuse on Twitter over last month’s sale of Gareth Bale that the intolerance was virtually trending.

It’s not just infecting the fans. Arsenal star Emmanuel Frimpong was fined by the FA after calling a Tottenham fan a “scum Yid” on Twitter.

The 21-year-old Ghanaian wasn’t being anti-Semitic. He was simply, justifiably, under the impression that “Yids” is the nickname of his side’s arch rivals. Arsenal are Gooners, Tottenham are Yids.

Frimpong could have sighted Wikipedia in his defence. On the encyclopedia’s “Football Club Nicknames” page, Under ‘Y’ next to “Yellows – Mansfield Town, for the colour of the home kit”, it helpfully states: “Yids – Tottenham Hotspur, – “for the club’s North London Jewish heritage”.

Prejudice as public record. Bigotry gets no more banal than that.

It’s encouraging that the typically toothless FA has come out from behind its empty “Kick It Out” slogans and finally taken a firm stand. But the biggest hurdle remains those Spurs supporters who wouldn’t bat a blinkered eyelid if referees started to dish out yellow stars instead of cards at White Hart Lane.

They should bloody well know better. And deep, deep down, they bloody well know it.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss