The debate surrounding some sections of the Tottenham Hotspur support and their use of the anti-semitic word “Yid” has reached beyond the confines of North London, with West Ham sending a warning to their own fans ahead of the weekend.
Darren Lewis of the Mirror released a copy of the letter that West Ham’s joint chairmen, David Gold and David Sullivan, sent to club fans travelling to White Hart Lane this weekend.
Ahead of their Sunday clash with Spurs, Gold and Sullivan warned travelling Hammers fans that a “zero tolerance policy” would be taken in regards to anti-semitic chanting, which is alleged to have occurred in the fixture last season.
A section of the letter reads:
The Club seeks to remind all fans attending the match at White Hart Lane that they will be acting as ambassadors for West Ham United and their behaviour should reflect the values and standards of our club.
The corresponding fixture last season was followed by media reports of inappropriate chanting and gesturing by a small minority of individuals in the away end. Any such behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by West Ham United.
The matter will be of particular significance to Gold, who shares ties to the Jewish faith through his father. BBC Sport reported last year that the businessman’s great grandfather had actually committed suicide over taunting he suffered.
That being said, regardless of what ties an owner may or may not have with any ethnic slurs, every Premier League club should follow West Ham's proactive stance on the matter.
Kick It Out is a campaign initiated in 1993 centred around eradicating racism from the sport, and it has been given a lot of attention in recent years. Now, with the term "Yid" a recent focus of attention, the Hammers have set the standard for their fans to follow, hopefully preventing unsavoury scenes before they occur.
The letter continues:
West Ham United is rightly proud of its world-famous support home and away and will not allow the reputation of the tens of thousands of Hammers fans who follow the club over land and sea to be tarnished by any unacceptable conduct from a small minority.
Lately, the row over the use of the word “Yid” has spiralled further into the public forum, with arguments largely revolving around who should and shouldn’t be able to use the word—if anybody at all.
The Met’s Chief Superintendent, Mick Johnson, was also reported by the Mirror as warning that fans face arrest this weekend if found to be causing offence, stating, “Racism and offensive language have no place in football or indeed in society.”
At the cost of causing offence to some, portions of the Spurs support have used slang like "Yid" and "Yid Army" as a form of bonding for years.
However, football support has become as diverse and multicultural as ever, so evolution rather than tradition is arguably the preferable outcome—a belief perpetuated by Gold and Sullivan.