Written in reply to a column on 'Topspurs' and published on there
I don't normally challenge the views of the 'true' fans who represent me at White Hart Lane. They spend the money and put in the time that we supporters from afar do not or cannot . But this matter goes beyond the 'terraces ' and and I think it is wrong to let the world outside of Tottenham High Road be left with the idea that 'Slabbers' view is the last word .
I accept that the intention of the chant is not racist and 'Slabber' argues that case well. But we don't have the luxury o f close textual analysis when the chant is heard on the terraces especially in a televised match. Supporters, visitors and the press will be under the impression that it is. The phrase 'hanging from a tree' in connection with a black player has too many racist overtones, as The Guardian rightly says.
But 'Slabber' exposes his argument with the phrase 'its no-ones business but ours'. The world doesn't end at the boundaries of White Hart Lane and when such abuse is chanted, whatever the provocation, then the outside world has every right to question and demand answers. What does it say to the listening public,through radio,television and newspapers about the state of mind of a section of Spurs supporters. More importantly what does it say about the values of a club that allows them to say it.
Then we have the assertion that homophobia is the last great taboo that is acceptable. It is not. You may think it is acceptable on the 'terraces' but you and like-minded fans do not live on the' terraces'. Your actions impinge on the world outside to your own and the club's detriment.
By way of defence you assert that 'Its playground humour' Some defence to say that you have the mentality of kids in the playground. In any case its particularly unacceptable in the playground and in a school would lead to severe sanctions. To describe it as 'teasing' is to deny the vehemence of some Spurs fans in their attitude to Sol Campbell and to attempt to deflect serious scrutiny of your actions. The fact that Campbell is not gay doesn't excuse the charge of homophobia because you are using the idea in a negative and demeaning way. But you have admitted that charge in any case.
You are right to raise the Wenger slurs and to ask why the press has not exposed these as well. They probably will now they are on our case and these are not acceptable either; they are equally disgusting about a man who happens to be the manager of a rival club. They are obviously slanderous. I'm not sure that it advances your case to say that something else that Spurs fans do is much worse.
Whether the chant is racist or not it is certainly demeaning to you and the club. Its completely out of proportion to any offence; its a disgusting outburst in a public place and out of keeping with the traditions, values and history of the club.
It is too late to ask , in such a dismissive way, for the Guardian readers, muesli eaters, Peter Tatchell and the gay rights brigade, people who can see that free speech has limits,The Daily Mail and all the other idiots and hypocrites, in your words, to leave you alone. But whose fault is it that they are on your case? Don't shoot the messenger: address the problem. In a free society we depend on everyone showing restraint in their words and actions and showing respect to their fellow citizens.
What Sol Campbell did was wrong, no argument, but the response is way over the top and your anger should have subsided by now. In fact I think it has; its only generated by the camaraderie and safety of the stands. Its become a habit, a ritual and by now a meaningless gesture and to us that don't sit in the stands, and to many that do, a slur on the good name of Tottenham.
You are in a hole of your own making: stop digging; let it go; move on.