Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Racism makes things worse for West Ham - Margin

It heralds rain in comedies, gory death in horrors, and a retort about tempting fate in other all other films. But in football, or at least in East Ham, the phrase ‘things can’t get any worse’ is merely a challenge to be overcome.

Not discontent with relegation, gambling distractions, damaging cliques, awol players, poor form, and FA charges over dodgy transfers, a small but significant minority of Hammers wanted worse.

And so they filmed Nazi style chants as their side suffered an incredible 4-3 defeat to Spurs, and stuck the footage on the internet. Police pulled the film and launched a public order investigation in double quick time.

English readers may be more shocked than foreign ones, believing with good cause that our game is free from such racism. It is after all years since the National Front recruited members on match days.

West Hams fans will be disgusted too. They don’t want their club spoiled by such filth. They live in streets once bombed by the Luftwaffe. But after the ‘shoe shoe shoe bomber’ chants towards Egyptian and Spurs striker Mido last season, we could forgive Tottenham fans for judging West Ham harshly.

The club meanwhile stress that they work hard to tackle racism. Indeed their claim to be a leading campaigner to ‘kick racism out’ is not just rhetoric. This was a club that fought a very real battle in years gone by to eradicate far right influence on their fans.

It is hard to imagine chairman Eggert Magnusson, or Terry Brown before him, taking the Ken Bates line on this matter. The aggressive Bates, while chairman of Chelsea, defended his club’s anti-Semitic chanting and blamed the North London club for their historic solidarity with Jewish fans.

Magnusson won’t say a word. His club will investigate. Video footage will be viewed. Bans will be dished out. That may go unreported, but that is what football does now.

But for now the incident will make headlines. The FA will condemn it. The police will take action. And West Ham will hold their collective head even lower for a while. Still, at least things can’t get any worse.

7 comments:

andrewm said...

Margin, after your fate-tempting I await the dismissal of Curbs and the appointment of the God of Relegation, Dave "Harry" Bassett.

bluedaddy said...

What astounds me is having forked out the heap of cash that it takes to get you into a premiership ground, and with quite possibly the game of the season unfolding on the pitch, these hate-filled troglodytes still have the inclination to demonstrate their inadequacies. If they are season ticket holders, I hope WHU confiscate them and forward them gratis to some fans at the local mosques.

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said...

Good stuff, Margin.

If anyone has a couple of minutes to enlighten me about Tottenham's "jewishness", it would be greatly appreciated.

MotM said...

margin - I hadn't read this anywehere else and it certainly needs reporting.

I remember being at the 1980 FA Cup Semi-Final replay at Elland Road (yes Fat Frank's Father fornicating with the corner flag) and it was one of very few times I saw orchestrated trouble inside a ground from what looked like West Ham Neo-Nazis, but I might be mistaken.

Since then, I have been to Upton Park many times as an away fan and been impressed by the work done by the Club and have often been impressed by the West Ham fans resilience in the face of defeat.

As you say, the slow motion car crash that is West Ham 2006 - 2007 appears to have got worse.

Margin said...

Olivier

It's a story that dates back to the National front days at West Ham (and Combat 18, a nazi group at Chelsea).

South Tottenham had a very strong and visible Jewish community, many of whom supported Spurs.

And back in the old violent days when the West Ham and Chelsea "firms" (violent gangs) used to travel to White Hart Lane they passed through the Jewish areas.

As such they chanted "yids" and "yid army" at spurs fans to insult them.

So rather than take it as an insult, Spurs fans adopted it started chanting back "yid army" in solidarity with their Jewish fans.

At the time it led to the odd situation where neo-nazis would be shouted down in the street after games by chants of 'yid army.'

Anyway. The Jewish identity really stuck. Spurs fans now chant "yid army" at every game, and call out "yiddo, yiddo" at their greatest players, and more oddly at eachother if they happen to spot a fellow spurs fan while travelling abroad.

hope that helps. Perhaps I'll post an article on it some time.

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said...

Thanks Margin, very interesting, I had no idea.

An article is a good idea and would tie in nicely with this one, which is very good.

Margin said...

motm

West Ham deserve a lot of credit. They had one of the biggest racism problems and it really is just a tiny minority who let them down now.

Bluedaddy

That sounds like the best possible end result. Hand their seats to nearby mosques and temples.

Andrewm

They could bring back Glenn Roeder?

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