Uncertain Spurs flatter to deceive on tackling the Y-word

When news broke last week of Tottenham Hotspur taking a stand against the vile word “Yid” being used by its fans, I emailed the club for comment and received an immediate reply. 

Not from the head of media but from the head of media’s email security software. The bounce back email said: “Your email to Tottenham Hotspur was found to contain profanity. Content policies triggered: Policy (Bad words) found term [“yid”] in BODY_TEXT, score is 10”(presumably out of 10). Wonder of wonders! So it was true. After years of kicking the issue into the long grass, the club was finally doing the right thing.

That delusion lasted until the following day’s pre-match press conference when manager Antonio Conte was asked for his considered opinion on the club telling fans: “It’s time to move on from the Y-word.” 

Rather than hammer the message home, Conte feebly and excruciatingly denied any knowledge. He said he hadn’t been briefed so did not know enough to comment. 

I know nothing: Antonio Conte said he was unaware of the club’s announcement about the Y-word.

It was a facepalm moment that proved the club still lacks the courage of its convictions, despite having its reputation trashed by its own supporters.

With the manager incapable of an opinion and none of his players being offered up to speak publicly about the issue, it was no surprise that the chant rang out as boldly and loudly as ever during Sunday’s home game against Wolves.

The club has tip-toed around this reputational risk for decades, hoping in woke times the penny will drop for the philosophers in the South Stand who claim to use the word as a ‘badge of honour’ – freeing it from its tragic history on behalf of us downtrodden Jews. Like reclaiming the swastika as a Buddhist symbol of peace, that ship has sailed, been stripped of parts and converted into a floating hotel off the coast of Dubai. No amount of reclamation by kindly deep-thinking Spurs fans will change that. 

Like the swastika as a Buddhist symbol of peace, reclaiming the Y-word is a ship that’s sailed, been stripped of parts and converted into a floating hotel off the coast of Dubai.

In truth the word has been deceitfully hijacked as a cheap trigger to goad Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham fans. Everyone who chants it bloody well knows the dark arts they are conjuring and to hell with what Jews, who must clean the vile word off synagogues and gravestones, have to say.

Football fans convince themselves of a great many silly things out of blind loyalty to their beloved team (QPR will get promoted this season), but making asinine excuses for a sick word – as the tens of thousands of fans on Facebook groups like Yid Pride, North London Yids and From One Yid to Another do with great pride – is something else again.

Yes, Tottenham Hotspur has finally piped up and uttered words of vague substance, but it’s not the studs-showing tackle required. Like the Labour Party under Corbynism, a decent brand has been held hostage by a rogue faction for too long. It’s time for Tottenham to put the ‘Yid Army’ on notice. It’s all over. Bar the shouting.

About the Author
Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.
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