Spanish newspaper Marca on Monday found themselves criticised after publishing an article about Tottenham’s history.
The article explained Tottenham are a hated club because of their Jewish connections, and are disliked up and down the country. Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham were credited with seeing Tottenham as an enemy, and that was then extended to teams further afield.
Marca explained: ‘Throughout history they’ve been frowned upon by the fan-bases of other London clubs, mainly its great enemy, Arsenal, but also by West Ham, Chelsea… and clubs of lower pedigree of the capital, moving the animosity to the rest of the country, where it’s normal to hear a deafening chant jump to the pitch: “Stand up if you hate Tottenham.”‘
‘Their Jewish heritage has historically turned them into a club seen badly by rivals, but in their 135 years of life there’s always been style and great players.’
Ardiles & Villa and the Falklands war were brought into it, making Tottenham a ‘further enemy, rejected by all stadiums in the country’, and Marca ended the piece by saying that was ‘one more reason to be hated’.
At no point did it feel like Marca were trying to be purposefully insulting, and their general reporting of Tottenham ahead of the Real Madrid match has been very respectful, maybe sometimes over the top.
That’s why it all felt like a mistake on behalf of Marca, and they’d just got something wrong, a misunderstanding of how Tottenham are actually seen in England.
An apology probably wasn’t expected, but a quick one would have been fine. However, they’ve tried to explain it all away, by suggesting it’s the representation of their words which has been the problem, rather than the actual article in the first place.
In Marca’s Tuesday newspaper it’s stated the article has ‘generated controversy in England for an erroneous interpretation of the term “hated”, that’s used in the text.’
Marca used the term in English once, and for a Spanish audience translated ‘hate’ (from the chant ‘Stand up if you hate Tottenham’) to ‘odia’. Marca then used ‘odiados’ and ‘odiado’ in their article, it’s very clear what they meant.
Throw out the word hated, and Marca were still quite clear, Tottenham are seen as a ‘enemigo’.
To clarify their point, especially about hatred over Tottenham’s Jewish connections, Marca say: ‘That ‘hatred’ Tottenham suffers is very focused on the radical and racist groups that are hiding in the social mass, especially at Chelsea and West Ham.’
Whilst Chelsea and West Ham can’t argue too much with these claims if based on a context including historical fan-bases, they may be perturbed that Marca, by trying to dig themselves out of a hole, have thrown them in it.
Regardless, on Monday the Spanish newspaper didn’t restrict it to Chelsea and West Ham’s ‘radical and racist groups’, but on Tuesday insist these people don’t represent English fans or the general attitude to Tottenham.
Marca’s journalist does sort-of apologise, even if it’s still with the suggestion it was the interpretation which was at fault, rather than the actual poorly informed article: ‘I regret the confusion that has been created in this respect. The intention was not to damage the image of Tottenham, a club that we respect, value and admire – without going further, one of its players was the star of our cover story yesterday – and we do not want to serve as a speaker for these racist minorities in football, and who use any pretext to expand their hate messages, which we reject head-on.’