Chelsea Clear Out: Hopefully A Work In Progress

I hate it when opposition supporters say something I don’t like about Chelsea but can’t defend because I know it’s true – and that’s the position I found myself in yesterday.

A Fulham supporter mentioned a story The Guardian carried a few days ago about Chelsea’s willingness to tackle anti-semitism being called into question after their apparent failure to deal with specific incidents. Apparently, during the Wigan game, a ‘significant minority’ of Chelsea fans were chanting ‘Yiddo’ at Yossi Benayoun and when asked about it, the club said they’d spoken to police and officials but it was ‘unlikely’ the culprits would be identified.

Doesn’t cut it really does it? I mean it’s by no means an isolated incident is it? I wish it was but we all know what we heard from the mouths of some during Avram Grant’s reign. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want him at the club but I based any comments I had to make about him on footballing reasons – for me his religion had nothing to do with it. Unfortunately though, the mindless minority saw fit to spew the usual racist, anti-semitic, offensive bile. And whilst I certainly wouldn’t have cheered him on, I would never have involved myself in attacking him on such a personal level.

Not at all remorseful though, they did it all again when we faced him in the FA Cup last season, even though in October last year, Chelsea passed footage onto the police of supporters singing anti-semitic songs about Spurs ahead of the game against Stoke at the Britannia, before issuing a statement saying “Chelsea utterly condemns all forms of discrimination, including antisemitic chanting, as we are sure do the vast majority of our fans. If we are provided with evidence that season ticket-holders or members have engaged in such activity we will take the strongest possible action, including supporting criminal prosecution.”

I remember Ken Bates previously trying to defend supporters by suggesting – as we all know – that Spurs actually adopted the tag of ‘Yid Army’, saying ‘It is hard to criticise Chelsea fans for calling Tottenham supporters something that they call themselves.’ But whilst that may be a valid point because they did indeed adopt the term ‘Yids’ (apparently in a deliberate attempt to antagonise opponents after a march through the East End in 1936 where Oswald Mosley, leader of Britain’s fascist movement led the call ‘down with the Yids’), I don’t think they also invited the sound of hissing or songs about going to Auschwitz.
When I was a kid, I too used to refer to Spurs supporters as yids but once you do your history lessons and grow up a bit, you no longer have ignorance or immaturity as an excuse – and then it crosses that fine line between banter and offensiveness. So, I’m not about to defend the indefensible and I’ll openly admit it shames and embarrasses me to know that this sort of thing comes from Chelsea supporters.

Of course, I’m not naïve, and I realise that like any club we have our fair share of knobheads who have no sense of boundaries and engage their mouths rather than their brains on an all-too regular basis but the fact that these people, by association, have Chelsea labeled as racist and anti-semitic pretty much appalls me..

Despite the recent questions around their response to this, Chelsea have previously banned supporters for singing antisemitic songs at Stamford Bridge, so I would hope that with new signing Yossi Benayoun rumoured to be their latest target, the club takes exactly the same stance to weed out the undesirables.


18 Responses to “Chelsea Clear Out: Hopefully A Work In Progress”

  1. Nice one Chelsea D
    It can’t be overstated – get the racist scum out of our club.
    We are proud to be a LONDON club and as such we represent one of the most open and tolerant cities on the planet!
    OK it’s not perfect but give me a choice and London’s the place for me and Chelsea THE CLUB!

  2. Cogent article indeed. The image used to illustrate your blog is particularly powerful. Sadly many like me will agree with your sentiment, but also so many are the silent majority. Tolerance of wrong doing is a culture of our presumed 1st world society; such tolerance is unheard of among many nations of the so called developing world. Fine article.

  3. To do this to any player – let alone a player at your own club – is totally unforgiveable.
    They should be banned, it’s not as though Stamford Bridge ever has empty seats.

  4. I really think that this is a hot topic that needs to be covered. I think that it is naive for people to believe that a persons color, geographic birth place or religion effect the persons abilities or personality.
    There are great people and idiots in every race or religion and I personally as a Chelsea fan am most concerned with a players ability then where they were brought up or with what religion.
    ChelseaD not hiding from hot button topics is what makes this blog relevant.

  5. with CCTV scattered all over the Bridge it shouldn’t be that difficult for the club to weed out the ignorant idiots. I suggest we name and shame them and ban them from the Bridge. It’s time the club takes the hard line.

  6. Is prosecution really an option? That wouldn’t be the case here in the states (but any club can ban anyone for any reason).

    This sort of thing makes me want to root for Spurs (not the fact that there are some knotheads who do this…that would be one thing…but the ‘significant minority’ comment makes me VERY uncomfortable).

  7. ososdeoro – the ‘significant minority’ was a phrase I believe used by the group reporting the incidents, not one adopted by TheChelseaBlog per se.

  8. thanks, my error.

    forgot to say, what a cute little girl!

  9. Every club has a set of pathetic fans, Leedscum, City and Liverpool like to sing about Munich, while we (United) have a small set of wankers who sing about Hillsborough.

    It’s pathetic and I don’t think it will ever be wiped out completely. But there’s no harm in trying, and until then I think it just has to be ignored, and drowned out by respectful fans cheering and chanting for their team. It’s a massive shame really.

    Good article though and a good read.

  10. This is an intelligent and brave blog. I’m always glad when supporters are willing to denounce the unacceptable behaviour of their fellow fans.

    I’m a Manchester United fan that feels ashamed every time I hear songs about Hillsborough. I felt embarrassed when some United fans booed Andy Goram.

    I’m sure there are fans of our rivals who feel similarly embarrassed when people around them sing about Munich.

  11. Good article, it makes me sick that this still goes on, I attended a Spurs game and sat in the MH Lower, the abuse in there was awful. I complained to a steward who was sat under a “kick racism out of football” banner who did nothing. It carried on through the whole game, never been in there since.

  12. i totally agree. racism is the darkest part of this game and there is NO room for it. these dumb supporters should realise that all the club’s recent seuccess has been due to a jew, Mr. Abramovich!
    in my oppinion liverpool supporters are the worst offenders. here in the US a radio host of the most listened to soccer/football program scrapped his show because anti-semetic liverpool fans threated his family.

  13. It represents the dark part of football – mindless, offensive and abusive fans. It can make me hate this game sometimes and thats saying something. I’ve got a season ticket at the bridge and luckily i’m in MH upper where the fans seem to be respectful and supportive of all the boys, but when I hear some ”fans” shouting abuse at the players and our OWN players too, I feel ashamed on the clubs behalf. I hope the club continue to try and fight it.

  14. How about that. Brian, i am that US radio host that you refer to in your post and i have to say that while i went through a torrid time at the hands of the worst kind of fans last year with Liverpool where you quite correctly make mention to my family being threatened (including 2 young girls of 9 and 12) that not the worst of it.

    The worst of it was that those said Liverpool fans who abused me, threatened me and became horribly anti-semetic then went to Chelsea who i had supported for 43 years at the time and asked them for a comment about me. Chelsea duly accommodated. Kenyon and Greenberg both saying publicly that my comments about Hillsborough (i claim, as an honest opinion that the events prior to 3.15pm on that day were solely the fault of Liverpool fans) deserved no oxygen etc… The club who i had helped for the previous 7 years promote in this country and supported for over 40 years truly threw me under the bus. The club were also very aware of the abuse and the tone of the Liverpool campaign against me because i had told them. In my eyes the club at a pretty high level endorsed a campaign full of the very things that this article brings up…i am not surprised little is done all in order to placate a bunch of senseless thugs and animals from another club and from the other side of the world.

    I now follow Chelsea with no emotion or love nor will i ever again and this type of blog makes my decision to become a neutral fan that much easier. I really appreciate the author having the guts to go out on a limb and put this out there.

  15. Steven – really sorry to hear about your experience.
    Obviously I realise that my writing this piece doesn’t come without a price and I don’t doubt there will be a few who will steer clear of the blog as a result. A loss? Not to me.

    I’ve supported Chelsea for many years and having invested a huge part of my life to the club, feel that entitles me to an opinion as much as anyone – on occasion, that may be an opinion others’ don’t agree with but I’ve never been one to bury my head in the sand about our shortcomings just to please others.

    Besides, we clearly don’t have the best reputation going when it comes to our supporters so if even a few of us can redress the balance a little by showing we don’t all fit the negative stereotype, then the price isnt quite so high.

  16. No don’t get me wrong i totally agree with you. My point was simply that i went through this awful time with a world wide boycott of me, my shows and my advertisers by Liverpool fans but the real kick in the face was Chelsea coming out and publicly condemning me in agreement with them when they should have said nothing.

    Yes it would be easy to simply move on and say that Greenberg and Kenyon who are no longer there were the culprits but Bruce Buck who is still there and who i have approached since has made his feeling clear through his silence. This is a guy who i would have lunch with in his office when i was in London and would visit with in LA when he and the club were here for pre-season.

    My point was that i am aware of the type of people who run Chelsea and i am not surprised by anything they do or in this case what it appears they will not do. It is a question of character and they have little. The players and Ancelotti are of course a much different situation…but i tried to separate the two out and in the end i could not.

    To have supported the club for 43 years and to essentially have had that taken from me is the biggest insult of all…and the biggest loss.

    I do however have a new show called World Football Daily and would love to have you on as a guest if you would have any interest to talk about all things football and Chelsea not just about this.

  17. steven… i was talking about kenny… IM KIDDING! i really miss your show on serius and FFF. what they have on FSC now is garbage! i doubt you remember me, but i tried to call in often; i loved your humour and your banter.
    it brings me great sorrow to hear that your passion for the club has faded. i loved hearing about your experience going to the CL final and watching chelsea then going home and talking to your dad for hours afterwards.
    i wish you, kenny and your new show the best of luck, im not a suscriber as money is tight at the moment. but i do hope chelsea d. can get some air time. KTBFFH

  18. Steven – I’d be more than happy to.