Archives for category: Sport

Chanting seems to be a very effective means of embodying and sustaining group identity.  Many chants are little more than labels the group chooses to apply to itself.  The very common and multi-purpose chant of “U. S. A.” is a good example.

So the odd case of the Tottenham Hotspur chant merits attention.  The London football club has traditionally had strong ties to the local Jewish community.   Supporters refer to themselves as the “Yid Army”, and incorporate this term in many of their chants.  Cries of anti-semitism (“yid” is widely perceived as a pejorative term for jews) seem a little odd in this instance, as the supporters adopted the term themselves.   David Cameron has seen fit to opine that the use of  chants including the term “yid” should be tolerated, but there has been strong opposition from other quarters, and recently, occasional arrests for such chanting.

To add to the problem, opposition fans have taken to hissing loudly during matches, in apparent reference to the gas chambers of the holocaust.

A lighter view of the chant is provided in this video:


A chant has emerged in major league soccer in the US.  The pithy phrase “You Suck, Asshole!” is recited, usually once only, and precisely then when the goalkeeper of the opposing team kicks the ball out as a goal kick.  Examples are easy to find.  In this example, you can also see that the chant is accompanied by hand signs that bear striking resemblance to those of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

I know of no other example of a chant that is timed like this with respect to a discrete event, and that happens once only.  Food for thought.

Addendum: During the world cup, it became clear that this practice transcends language.  The term “puto” is used by many Spanish speaking supporters in exactly the same situation, called once only, when the goalkeeper kicks the ball out.