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Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant wades into ‘Y-word’ row

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 November 2013

Avran Grant and David Dein (left) look around the Four Four Jew exhibition at the Jewish Museum. Picture: Polly Hancock

Avran Grant and David Dein (left) look around the Four Four Jew exhibition at the Jewish Museum. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Former Chelsea football manager Avram Grant has stepped into the Yid chant row after speaking out against police attempts to arrest Tottenham Hotspur fans caught singing the word at matches.

Speaking at the Jewish Museum in Albert Street, Camden Town, the Israeli-born manager said he disliked the term, which is used as a derogatory description of a Jew, but believed arresting supporters is not the way forward.

Mr Grant, who was at an exhibition about Jews in football last Wednesday, said: “I don’t think anybody can like these kinds of chants. But in my opinion education is better than banning people from using the word.

“We need to understand why people want to use it and we need to think deeper about the issue. Arresting people is just an easy solution.

“I don’t think those using these words, whether Jewish or not, know what they’re doing. Educating them is the way forward.”

Some fans continue despite police warnings, with chants of Yid Army and We’ll Sing What We Want heard at White Hart Lane since the Met said officers would take action last month. They say the term could cause “harassment, alarm or distress to others”.

Fans, many of whom are Jewish, argue they are reclaiming the word from those who use it to insult them. So far one Spurs supporter has been arrested.

Mr Grant was being taken around the Four-Four-Jew display by former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein.

The manager of 40 years, who was also at Portsmouth and West Ham, saw match programmes from his original days at Israeli club Hapoel Petah Tikva, as well as the film Y-Word, created by comedian and Chelsea supporter David Baddiel, which is against having Yid in chants.

“I didn’t know that there was such a history of football in the Jewish community,” he said. “When I was young we saw all over the world that Jews were connected to business and law, but not to sport. I hope it will change perceptions.”

He described the exhibition, which ends in February, as “an amazing experience”.

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