Love it or hate it, the Y-word will not disappear overnight


It would be fair to say that the Y- Word film has sparked huge debate within the community. I've spoken to several die-hard Jewish Spurs fans who are adamant they will not stop chanting 'Yids' or 'Yid Army' at matches home and away.

Some Spurs fans will tell you that the chant is a badge of honour. I believe that part of the problem comes down to age. The term Yid does not offend me, but effing Yid does. It's hard to explain. But being called a Jew or worse, an effing Jew, is highly offensive.

In this particular case, it comes down to interpretation and it's incredible to think that one word has aroused such an interesting social debate.

I believe that the term, whilst understandably offensive to many, is not an insult against the Jewish faith but against Tottenham fans, who defiantly label themselves as such. The problem is the abuse opposing fans chant back. The time has come for the Y-word to be banned, due to the actions of the ignorant few who are simply too stupid to understand what they are saying.

The bottom line is that this film is not just about Spurs or Spurs fans. The message is for football as a whole, in the hope that the word will be eliminated from the terraces up and down the country in the same way that the N-word and the P-word have been addressed.

Over the years I've been made aware of antisemitic problems at Chelsea, West Ham and Leeds amongst others. In my opinion, Chelsea are the worst.

I've lost count of the number of times Jewish Chelsea fans have reported sickening chants and it's no coincidence that Jonathan Metliss and Martin Berliner, along with Y Word producers David and Ivor Baddiel, have played prominent roles to get the issue on the map.

Berliner, who is Chief Executive of Maccabi GB, said: "After many years of campaigning and lobbying we can now see a cogent campaign to start to rid the game of antisemitic chanting."

A Kick It Out advisory group member, Metliss said: "It's about mob rule who are totally unopposed and totally without fear. It's also about Jews becoming more and more unacceptable in society.

"I've worked tigerishly to get this on the Kick It Out Agenda. But we have to step it up from here."

Co-producer Ivor Baddiel mentioned the possibility of a Y-Word II film. The one thing lacking from the first one is a Jewish figurehead. Some of the players featured – Ledley King, Frank Lampard, Zesh Rehman and Rachel Yankey, along with Gary Lineker – have Jewish agents, but here we have a Jewish-related film with no Jewish representation. Having a David Bernstein, Roman Abramovich, Avram Grant, Yossi Benayoun or Dean Furman would certainly give it more impact in my eyes.

I also think the project must be fully supported by the Premier League and the Football League. It is what happens next that is important, otherwise I have a fear that it will be swept under the carpet and forgotten about.

Educating the police, stewards and referees about the topic is of equal importance. I get the impression that they don't recognise antisemitism as a form of abuse in the sport arena.

Although the film is a powerful tool for the top end of the professional game, one key area that the film does not address is grass-roots where I believe that the problem of antisemitism in football is more prominent. London Lions received plenty of taunts when they played in the Herts Senior County League. There teams were fully aware that Lions are an all-Jewish club although they will say that it was used as 'banter' and just to wind the opposition up.

Is it not too much to ask that these views are not expressed in a forum as public as a football match? We should not let the actions of the ignorant few ruin a day out for the hundreds who were forced to listen?

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