Ken Bates responds to anti-Semitic chants

Ken Bates, Chairman of Leeds United (Daily Mail)

I wrote to Ken Bates a few weeks ago after seeing a child give a Hitler salute and hearing some fans around me singing “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” at the Leeds v Spurs FA Cup replay at Elland Road on February 3rd.

He very kindly telephoned me a few days later and the gist of what he said is as stated in his programme notes on the subject for tonight’s home game against Walsall. They are as follows:

I had a complaint from a Leeds fan who lives in London about the anti-Jewish chanting when we played Spurs. The substituting of “Auschwitz” and “Belsen” when the Spurs fans were singing that they were “on the road to Wembley” is so old hat. The Second World War ended 65 years ago and I had to contend with the same nonsense nearly 30 years ago when I was at Chelsea. Do me a favour, please grow up.

In case you don’t know it Leeds is a club with strong Jewish connections. In fact I am one of the few non-Jewish chairman going back as far as I can remember. I don’t have a problem with Jews. I was, in fact, the only gentile in Jerusalem at a bar mitzvah and looked so Jewish with my beard, little black hat and overcoat that I was asked to join other ceremonies.

There are a few exceptions (I could name one or two) but by and large they are a talented race who punch above their weight in all aspects of society. Mind you, the north London lot don’t help themselves by describing themselves as “Tottenham Yids”. In the old days they even wore badges to that effect.

However, it is not good enough to write to me some days later complaining after the event. Around the ground at Elland Road there are boards advising you of the text number 07946 362117. If you have a problem, use it – whereupon our response team will be quick to react. Remember, for evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.

3 responses to “Ken Bates responds to anti-Semitic chants

  1. I don’t know what to make of Ken Bates. I well remember him fearlessly going to Tel Aviv with Chelsea during the Intifada, and not giving a monkeys about what other clubs were doing. He’s brusque with his jumbled up references and ignorances – but he’s probably okay.

  2. Pleased to see he kept his word on this, well done Rich for bringing it to his attention.

  3. I am not sure that Ken quite gets the extent of the offence, writing that the chants are “old hat” and that the chanters should “grow up”!

    Nice of him not to “have a problem with Jews”, while his “talented race who punch above their weight”reference smacks of the well-known “some of my best friends are Jewish” line!

    Anyway, at least he seems to have dispelled the rumours that he is a Jew-hater.