A Tottenham Hotspur supporter has been arrested for allegedly using the word “Yid” in chants at Sunday’s match against West Ham.

Police had warned fans of both teams prior to kick-off at White Hart Lane that they could be arrested if they sang the word.

However, the fan was held on suspicion of committing a section five public order offence at half-time in the stadium’s East Stand.

Tottenham fans sent a clear message of defiance to police at the match by chanting “Yid army” during the Barclays Premier League derby.

Yid is a term for Jew which is often considered derogatory, but fans of the north London club claim to chant the word as an act of defiance against those who taunt them because of historic links with the Jewish community.

Despite the police warning, home fans sang “Yid army” and “We’ll sing what we want” before kick-off and the chants did not cease throughout the match, which ended in a surprise 3-0 win to West Ham.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust issued a statement ahead of the game saying its members were being “unfairly targeted” and it held a “sincere belief that no Spurs fan uses the term ‘Yid’ in an offensive or insulting way”.

It continued: “Yet, sadly, the distinction between the use of the term as a badge of honour and a call to arms by Tottenham Hotspur supporters and the anti-Semitic abuse levelled at our fans by supporters of opposing teams appears to have been dismissed by both the FA and the Metropolitan Police.”

The trust urged no fan to accept a caution from police, nor a duty solicitor if they are arrested, and issued the phone number of a “recommended” solicitor instead.

The trust added: “We have sought the opinion of legal counsel and, subsequently, understand the position now adopted by the Metropolitan Police could be in breach of human rights and/or freedom of expression… THST believes there is no place for racism at White Hart Lane or, indeed, within football in general, but to label the songs our fans have been singing and the chants our fans have been chanting for decades as ‘racist’ overnight, with no legal precedent, is incomprehensible to us.”

As is customary at all Spurs matches, yesterday home fans hailed their own star players by shouting “Yiddo” at them. “Jermain Defoe, he’s a Yiddo” was often heard throughout the game.

On one occasion when Spurs fans sang “Yids”, West Ham supporters responded with loud shouts of “Racists! Racists!”

There was a strong police presence at the game, but there was no visible evidence of any mass arrests.

Last season in the corresponding fixture, a small section of West Ham fans shocked the football world by using anti-Semitic language.

Just four days after Spurs fan Ashley Mills was stabbed in Rome, Hammers fans sang “Can we stab you every week?” and hissed, mimicking the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust.

But after pleas from owners David Sullivan and David Gold, as well as manager Sam Allardyce, there was no such chanting from the away end at Sunday’s match.

Tottenham Journal

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