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 canâ€™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 â€˜Jew Boyâ€™ 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 70â€™s I started going to WHL and became aware of the Yiddos chant. Initially I thought â€˜here we go againâ€™ 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 â€˜Weâ€™ve got Jewish fans, so whatâ€™. 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 canâ€™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 â€˜imâ€™ (male) and â€˜otâ€™ (female) are normal in Hebrew and occasionally used in English. Cherubim and Kibbutzim are examples. Tottenhim could be male spurs fans and Tottenhot,Â female spurs fans. I do need to check if the women are happy being referred to at â€˜hotâ€™.
And so, to be chanted responsively
Arsenal, Â and I canâ€™t think of a rhyme with white, any offers?
Proud Yiddo Martin