Tottenham have banned a special edition of NORMAN GILLER’s book Lane of Dreams because he used the word “Yid”. But even he thinks they may have a point…
It was the Duke of Wellington who first uttered the words, “Publish and be damned!”. More like “publish and be doomed!” says the self-publisher in me.
You find me today with my voyage into the world of self-publishing heading towards the rocks. My regular reader will recall that this time last year, I self-published a superbly written and researched history of White Hart Lane (I would say that, wouldn’t I?) , the historic home of Tottenham that is soon be demolished by the wrecking balls.
Their pending arrival coincides with me being kicked in the balls by Tottenham, who have just informed me that they are banning my reprinted Lane of Dreams from their shelves.
To boost sales, I cleverly – or so I thought – slipped in a souvenir pull-out, giving a goal-by-goal account of Tottenham’s remarkable 9-1 walloping of Wigan.
The beautifully produced pull-out includes the innocent phrase: “Wigan’s Austrian midfielder Paul Scharner blatantly controls the ball with his hand before steering it past Gomes. The Yid Army, in good humour, light up the Lane with chants of, ‘Are you Henry in disguise?’”
Oi vey, has that three-letter word cost me? Don’t ask.
Tottenham bluntly informed me that it had been decided “at director level” that because of the word “Yid”, they would not be able to stock my book.
Publisher Giller blew his top, and made wild accusations about them having it in for him with no evidence or rhyme or reason to support the allegation.
Then author Giller got his head around it, and came to the conclusion that Tottenham are completely right to take this stand against the use of the word.
I have always felt uncomfortable with it since the supporters first started using the Yid word as they claimed a weapon against anti-Semitic chants from rival supporters.
Tottenham, joining in the fight against racism in football, have decided to ban the expression in every area where they can and that includes in any books about the club.
Nobody needs to tell me about the idiocy and ignorance of anti-Semitism. I was born in Cable Street, just four years after my father threw punches in the infamous Battle of Cable Street against Oswald Mosley’s Black Shirts.
My best pals when I was growing up were Jewish, and I was accepted by them to the point where I used to be smuggled into the celebrated, exclusively Hebrew Brady Street club to hand out table tennis hidings with my lethal Johnny Leach bat (well, I used to win one game in six; enough already).
So I am in complete agreement with Tottenham’s stance against the provocative use of the word, in any shape or form.
It has left me bleeding as a self-publisher, and I am now trying to do my sums to see if it is worth paying for a reprint of the pull-out section without the offending phrase.
Let this be a lesson to all football reporters. We should be leading the way in teaching supporters that there is no room for racism of any sort in the game … or in life.
And it would help if thick-headed publishers would think before going to press with inappropriate phrases. My apologies to Tottenham officials Victoria Howarth, John Fennelly and Julie Bracey for my stupidity and attitude. Don’t blame me. Blame my publisher.
We have been corresponding since he read my Lane of Dreams, which he described as “a superior” book about Spurs. So he is obviously a great judge.
David wrote: “I thought you would be interested to hear about an event which took place in Jerusalem recently. I chaired a public symposium dealing with EU-Israel relations. Amongst the key speakers were the new EU ambassador to Israel, Andrew Standley, and the former Israel ambassador to the EU, Oded Eran.
“The former, like myself, turned out to be an avid Tottenham fan (these things always come out very quickly at meetings of diplomats and politicians at negotiations etc; excellent for ice breaking). The latter supports the team from the Emirates.
“In a lighter moment in the public discussion, sporting ties between Israel and the EU were discussed, and somehow or other it all came out, resulting in a five minute discussion in front of many ambassadors and politicians of the relative merits of the two North London teams.
“It was all in good humour of course, but it proved how football is an international language.”
Now that I can publish.
Read previous Norman Giller columns by clicking here.
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