Last week, The Sun newspaper came out with a report that Tottenham were being investigated for chants referring to West Ham fans as “pikeys,” which is supposedly classified as a racist term. I, someone who joined in with those chants and used the word “pikey,” had no idea what the word meant so I once again had to research the origin and meaning of the word that I had been singing in the Park Lane at White Hart Lane just three days earlier. An article published by the BBC in 2008 told me that pikey was “a term of abuse and in the eyes of the law using it can even be deemed a racist offense, given its association with Irish travellers and Roma Gypsies.”
I felt embarrassed by my ignorance in joining in on a chant that is clearly offensive.
There is a learning experience to be taken from this. Fans needed to be better educated on what is and is not okay to sing at matches. Terms like “Yid,” “Scouser,” “Bin Dipper,” “Chav” and “Pikey” are not okay.
While the hooligan element of English football has been — for the most part eradicated —the bigotry still remains. The occurrences on the Paris Metro and at White Hart Lane recently are not isolated incidents and are part of a more widespread problem.
These problems are not just limited to West Ham, Tottenham and Chelsea but to English football as a whole.
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