Keeping Schtum – a secret history of Jewish football

A talk by Anthony Clavane recorded on 8 November 2012.

A talk by Anthony Clavane recorded on 8 November 2012.

Jews don’t do football. This, at any rate, is the myth. They are people of the book not people of the penalty kick. Yet in the 1930s the Austrian ‘Wunderteam’, with many Jewish players and coached by the brilliant Hugo Meisl, was the best in the world.

Anthony Clavane argues that football would not be the global entertainment industry it is without the Jewish influence – and neither would it be the ‘beautiful game’ played by Ajax, Hungary, Benfica or Brazil. This talk unravels the secret history of Jewish football in the UK, Europe and beyond, showing that the game’s transformation would not have been possible without such Jewish Sports Legends as Louis Bookman, Harry Morris, Leslie Goldberg, Mark Lazarus and Morris Keston. Their untold stories – as well as the more familiar rags-to-riches tales of the likes of David Dein, David Pleat and Roman Abramovich – are emblematic of an immigrant community’s successful integration into, and enrichment of, English society. But many of these big names have “kept schtum” about their Jewishness. Anthony Clavane examines their influence – and their silence.

Anthony Clavane went to Sussex University and taught History in various schools for six years. He then became a journalist, first writing for the East Anglian Daily Times as a news and feature writer and then The Independent as an arts and culture writer. His book ‘Promised Land: A Northern Love Story’ was described as “glorious” by The Guardian and named both Football Book Of The Year and Sports Book Of The Year by the National Sporting Club – as well as sports book of the year by The Radio 2 Book Club. A stage adaptation is being shown in Leeds in June 2012. His new book ‘Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here‘ examines Jewish involvement in English football and is published by Quercus in October 2012.

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *