For the Y Army

This isn’t a Call to Arms. We’re not suggesting anyone be a martyr on Sunday. We do believe though that as a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, Jewish or otherwise, you have a right to say/chant the word ‘yid’. That’s our opinion. It’s not a fact in the eyes of the law. 

The Met police have issued a statement:

“Officers at this Sunday’s Premier League fixture between Tottenham Hotspur FC and West Ham United will be on the look out for supporters that use the ‘Y’ word and they will be taking action to stamp it out; 

“Some words – like the ‘Y’ word – which historically have been perceived by some as acceptable, cause harassment, alarm or distress to others, and people who use this language could be committing a criminal offence;

“The Met has a long history of working with football clubs and the football authorities, including the FA, to educate, encourage and empower supporters to stamp out racism in football and to ensure that there is no misunderstanding about what constitutes racist language or behaviour.”

We note that there is no mention of working with us, the supporters, in this statement and arguably had that been the starting point rather than the threat of using the full weight of the law against us, we would not find ourselves in this situation today. We are saddened that in 2013 we are still seen as part of the problem rather than the solution.

From this statement, we can take that if Spurs fans are caught chanting ‘yid’ they’re likely to receive police attention. Read more on that in The Trust’s excellent statement released yesterday. In real terms the police will have to pin point individuals, which means that even as a part of a crowd you could be pulled. There’s obvious logistical problems for the police. They will have to act on a complaint from a witness or personally witness you using the word.  If you’re sure you want to continue to chant ‘yid’ as we believe is your right, then there are probably ways to do so that minimise the risk of you being arrested.

If the worst happens and you find yourself arrested then the following advice is crucial.

You will be taken to a police station. You will be offered the opportunity of legal representation.  Turn down the offer of the duty solicitor and request representation from a firm called Bailey Nicholson Grayson. Their number is 07818 575 793. Write that number down, or put it in your phone now. Pass it on to anyone you know going to the game. They are aware of the situation and prepared for it. You may have to wait longer and understandably this is not appealing, but do wait!

You may be offered a caution. Under no circumstances accept this until you’ve spoken to a solicitor. A caution is an admission of guilt. It will show up on CRB checks, it is not a ‘slap on the wrist’ or a ‘get out of jail free’ card. The information is likely to passed back to the Club who then could well issue a ban as they will assume you’re guilty as… well you’ve admitted it. The police will also have this on record and it could influence the way you’re treated by them in future.

Since the Met have indicated that arrests may be made under the Public Order Act, it’s recommended that you read and understand pages 30-31 of ‘Keeping the Peace’ from the Association of Officer Police. Information is power and understanding this will do nothing if not reaffirm your belief that you’re doing nothing wrong. 

Finally, if challenged by police be respectful and cooperate as the experience will be easier for you. The police are not there because they have an opinion on the argument. Rightly or wrongly it’s their job and they’re doing as they’re instructed. 

Remember while the situation is different from previous attempts to get us to stop chanting ‘yid’ there has been no test case to go through the courts. The change in direction, despite the Met police stating last year that Spurs fans wouldn’t face arrest, is more serious. If arrests are made and charges brought, even if you did not seek legal representation at the police station The Trust will still be able to assist in providing you with a solicitor, contact us, or The Trust  There are lawyers prepared to help and costs will be kept as low as possible. Don’t go it alone.