We’re kicking out racism, what about antisemitism?

By Danny Caro, February 4, 2010
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Does anyone know how we can eradicate antisemitism in football? It appears not. While millions have been spent on campaigns aimed at removing racism, the same time, effort and commitment must now go into solving what is becoming a growing problem.

It makes me sick to the bone when I hear about Jewish footballers being verbally abused with cheap insults. I blame the authorities for not taking a strong stance in the same way that they did on the colour issue.

While some believe comments are a bit of banter or a wind-up tactic, I do not. I’ve had enough. There is no place for these malicious words on the sports field, let alone society. Whether it’s ignorance, gamesmanship or racial hatred, I urge the FA and Jewish organisations to stand up and be counted, and recognise that there is a serious problem.

When a Jewish team goes up against a non-Jewish team, the match officials must keep their eyes and ears open. Club officials must also take responsibility and deal with it as one or two mindless idiots, be it a player or supporter, can tarnish the good name of their team.

Managers of Jewish teams tell their players to deal with it and react to it with their feet, not their mouth or hands. But they shouldn’t have to.

Whatever did or didn’t happen in a couple of games at the weekend, a former Wingate & Finchley player told me recently about a time when he was playing at London Colney and a fan behind the goal threw a ham sandwich at the Wingate keeper, who wasn’t even Jewish.

The stopper picked up the sandwich and ate it. That’s one way of dealing with it.

I agree that at the time, the best way to respond is to win the game, but once the dust settles, it must be dealt with head-on, and with a very firm hand. Let’s hope that Redbridge Jewish Care A’s quarter-final tie against Yavruvtan in the County Cup passes by incident free.

So another one bites the dust. Glenthorne United A, winners of JC MSFL Division One two years ago, have folded, leaving the league down to 50 teams. Citing a player shortage, it has left the Premier Division in a mess, with just eight teams, and resulted in a north east London broiges as you have a club like Redbridge Jewish Care with almost 100 players for three teams with several having moved over last summer.

Now teams in Division Four fear that Glenthorne B team will be bolstered by players previously deemed too strong for the bottom division. Glenthorne is a club with a proud history. They enjoyed some fierce battles with Faithfold over the years and I sincerely hope that they return to the top-flight one day.

Former boss Ian Cohen said: “I’m devastated as just a few months ago ‘my’ team were being talked about as one of the most up-and-coming teams in Jewish football. A dearth of talent has drifted away and I think there must be a lot of soul searching going on at the moment.”

Pinner JFC’s Yaniv Peer and Josh Landy are out for the rest of the season. Peer has a knee injury while Landy has cruciate ligament damage. They have signed midfielder Jordan Segal after agreeing a loan deal with North London Raiders. The MSFL transfer window closes mid-March.

    Last updated: 12:49pm, February 4 2010