26th February 2012

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Easy for Jeremy Hunt to say. Maybe he’d like to become a professional footballer, then come out as gay so a stadium of meatheads can scream “Queer!” at him?

I understand he believes that the self-identification of gay footballers would help stamp out intolerance generally, and perhaps it would, but he’s also talked lately about the recurring issue of racism in football and (without pretending to be an expert in the field), I’m fairly sure that a lot of professional players have been out as black for years.

Football fans shout “Yiddo” at Spurs games, for crying out loud, just because the ground is in north London. If half the team declared themselves Jewish, do you imagine this would stop?

Many people claim that “yiddo” is just a lighthearted nickname, happily used by Spurs fans and nothing to do with actual Jews (which is certainly the defence made for stewards’ failure to do anything about these cries, when they will eject users of other racist language), but that doesn’t explain why rival fans also chant: “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz” and make hissing noises to represent gas ovens – nor why “Yiddo” gets shouted at the Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who’s never played for Tottenham in his life. God, football’s awful.

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