I'm a Spurs fan and we should drop the Y-word – we don't need it
By Andre Langlois
Andre Langlois is the Editor of the Ham & High and Islington and Hackney Gazette newspapers – a lifelong fan who regularly covers our matches. This article was published in the Ham & High on Friday 11 February, 2022, and we thank Andre for giving his permission for us to use it in full.
Here's the thing – times change.
The use of chants featuring the Y-word by Spurs fans has become increasingly jarring in recent years, and uncomfortable for many in our beautiful stadium.
In the late 1970s, the word was adopted in a bid to "reclaim" it in the face of antisemitic abuse, but things are different now.
That's not to say there isn't still abuse. There is. Just last month, two Jewish men were hospitalised after a gruesome attack in Stamford Hill.
Last December, a man was assaulted and a Hanukkah display damaged in an antisemitic hate crime in West Hampstead.
But antisemitism, and indeed all racism and other forms of hatred, should be reported and cracked down on by those managing the game, with stadium bans handed out.
Tottenham Hotspur have released the findings of a consultation with fans launched in 2019, with 94% of 23,000 responses acknowledging that the Y-word can be considered a racist term against Jewish people.
And yet 33% of respondents use the word "regularly" in a football context. The chant of "Y** army" and thunderclap of the Y-word alone are heard more in the stadium than any others.
But, as the club has called for, we can move on. We have other chants (even if we set aside "stand up if you hate Arsenal").
We don't hear "glory, glory Tottenham Hotspur" enough, or even "oh when the Spurs go marching in".
The eerie "come on you Spurs" can sound defiant one moment and mournful the next.
It would be lovely to hear some genuinely new compositions. It's time to work on some rhymes for "Bentancur" and "Kulusevski".
But setting aside the question of what to shout/sing, showing some cultural sensitivity and retiring the Y-word would only add to the heritage of the club.
Just as its place at the top of the Premier League's table for environmental sustainability shows that we are forward-thinking, dropping the Y-word would emphasise the club's role valuable role in the community.
Losing a few chants does nothing to detract from the Tottenham Hotspur of Jimmy Greaves, Danny Blanchflower, Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and so many others, and everything to make the club one to be proud of in 2022.