The Y Word – A Personal View

Credit: Martin – South Dorset Spurs

The Y Word – A personal view

Recently I was listening to Chelsea fan David Baddiel on Desert Island Disks and he spoke about the need to mock others as a valid response. This is really useful when you can’t get involved in a discussion.

I grew up within the sound of White Hart Lane on match days and so could never have been part of any other fan base. I am also a Jew which means my formative years were quite strange. I became used to regularly being called ‘Jew Boy’ or having halfpennies thrown at my feet to see if I would collect them. Us Jews ate school lunches at a separate table as we had kosher food and we were paraded in at the end of assembly after the religious observance bit. I got used to being unusual and found ways to cope or ignore it. Then in the 70’s I started going to WHL and became aware of the Yiddos chant. Initially I thought ‘here we go again’ and then realised that a whole crowd was mocking the opposing fans and welcoming me! I felt completely at home and saw this as such a mature response. It was like saying ‘We’ve got Jewish fans, so what’. The gay community have done a similar thing by reclaiming the words Queer or Gay which are rarely used as a term of ridicule these days.

Of course most if not all clubs have diverse fans but I can’t recall any other supporters celebrating this.

I did have a discussion with a Jewish Chelsea fan, we were both part of the same youth organisation, who publicly objects to the use of the Y word and can be found on You Tube expressing his opinion. I tried to explain how I felt about the Y word and that I had never found a Spurs fan, Jewish or otherwise who objects to the chant of Yiddos. I also suggested that the anti-Semitic chants by his club was much more of a concern and perhaps he chose the wrong team to support.

It is obvious to me that the battle is pretty much won. The only anti-Jewish chants we get are so vile that it is clear that they, not us, have a real problem.

Perhaps though it is time that we developed an additional chant to celebrate to diversity of support our team enjoy and I have an offering. This does require some explanation which goes against the grain for a chant but its a starter for others to contribute to.

To appreciate it you have to know that a suffix of ‘im’ (male) and ‘ot’ (female) are normal in Hebrew and occasionally used in English. Cherubim and Kibbutzim are examples. Tottenhim could be male spurs fans and Tottenhot,  female spurs fans. I do need to check if the women are happy being referred to at ‘hot’.

And so, to be chanted responsively

Tottenhim, Tottenhot

Totten-gay, Totten-not

Totten-black, Totten-white

Arsenal,   and I can’t think of a rhyme with white, any offers?

Proud Yiddo Martin

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