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Experiencing Anti-Semitism at Stamford Bridge

The issue of anti-Semitic chanting at Chelsea matches has received widespread coverage in the media recently. The Club and the Trust have both publicly condemned such chanting. While it is true that the majority of Chelsea supporters do not behave in a racist and anti-Semitic manner, a minority continue to chant words that are offensive to Jewish Chelsea supporters and indeed our owner, Roman Abramovich.

What is often overlooked is the impact this has on those who hear it in and around the stadium on a match day. We were contacted by a mother and son who experienced this at first hand and gave us permission to share their experience of anti-Semitism at Stamford Bridge. The following account exemplifies what it means to our own Jewish supporters who hear anti-Semitic chanting during matches.

Mother and son Karen and Jack are lifelong Chelsea supporters. On Saturday 22 December, they attended the Chelsea v Leicester match at Stamford Bridge. (Names have been changed).

Karen: My Dad was born in Worlds End, Chelsea. He lived in Parsons Green, and had a season ticket. His father was a supporter when they created the club in 1905. So my family have been supporting Chelsea since the very beginning.

I’ve been going since the late 70s. So when my kids were born there was no question about who they would support. We are all members – that’s how we buy tickets. Alternatively we sometimes use friends’ season tickets when they can’t go.

For the game against Leicester, we sat in the Matthew Harding Lower – on the East Stand side. It was a friend’s season tickets. The majority of the people who sit around those seats are really friendly.

Chelsea is a big part of my family’s life. We’re British, and we’re also Jewish. But we are very much a Chelsea family and ethnicity should not be relevant to our love and support of our beloved Chelsea.

 Jack: I’m at university in the Midlands, and I try and get tickets for games nearby. I went to the Wolves game recently – I was in the home end! So I had to remain quiet the whole game.

I went to West Brom when we won the league. Even though it was impossible to get tickets we went to a Chelsea pub close to the ground to soak up the atmosphere. It was a great night.

But there were people in that pub – Chelsea fans – singing about Spurs fans, and how they don’t have foreskins. People from my age into their 50s. That’s out of order. There is ignorance there, but why would you make a statement like that?

Karen: Against Leicester there was somebody behind me and Jack, and he was chanting a lot. He was really loud: one of those people that want to try and get everyone singing.

He started chanting ‘we hate Tottenham’.

And then he suddenly shouted ‘We hate Y-ds’. It was a white guy in his 40s. His mate told him: “Be careful” and he stopped.

Jack: It happened about five or six times. He was screaming it – him on his own. I was close to turning around, but I just felt that I didn’t really want that confrontation. My whole mood changed after that. You’re at a game of football, and you don’t expect to hear any of this. I was so disappointed. I just thought: ‘Why on earth is that relevant to a game of football?’

Karen: I thought: ‘These are not my seats. I’m sat next to someone who I don’t really know, and I wasn’t sure how they might react if I made an issue of it. Later, when I mentioned it, they said: ‘I would have reported him’.

I just felt really uncomfortable. Disturbed, I would say. I was so disappointed. I just thought: ‘Why on earth is that relevant to a game of football?’

I know this happens, but it was so close by. It felt like an assault.

I don’t like what Tottenham call themselves. I find it uncomfortable, and it certainly isn’t helpful. It is meant to be an offensive term. But whatever Tottenham call themselves, it doesn’t ever excuse people shouting about hatred for Jews.

I was left feeling: ‘What have I done to him? Why would that man, or anyone, not like us – simply because we are Jewish?’ They don’t know me or Jack.

Jack: It has definitely got worse in recent seasons. I think social media has a bit of a role to play in it. It is a bit stupid and short-sighted though, especially as our owner, Roman Abramovich, is Jewish. It is ridiculous that it is that aspect, with Tottenham or whoever, that someone would pick on.

Karen: Should anyone not understand: the word is a derogatory word about Jewish people. Whoever you might be directing it at: if Jewish people are present, then it us who are hurt by it.

But what I don’t understand is this… If you know that ‘Y-d’ is a bad word, but you don’t know what it means, then how could you possibly think it acceptable to shout it out in public?

There has been so much in the media about this, and about stopping it, and people are surely well aware that it’s not acceptable. There is maybe some testing of the boundaries going on here.

Jack: There are a million things you can sing about football. You don’t have to bring in race, religion, whatever. It’s not relevant to sport at all. It is really upsetting for anyone – for any race or religion – to receive targeted abuse. Even if it is not calculated to directly hate those people.

Karen: As I said, I’m British, and I’m Jewish. But I’m proud to be British, even though there are times when it just makes me ashamed of some people who are the same nationality. Like a lot of Jews, I do have a family link with the Holocaust – relatives who escaped and some who were exterminated.

If you said back then, in the 1930s, that things would end up as they did – then a lot of people would have been insistent that it couldn’t happen. It did happen.

Little things have the potential to become terrible things. Shouting abuse about any race or religion is dangerous.

Jack: I think the club’s Campaign against Anti-Semitism is brilliant. I think they should try to educate and reform people. Teaching people about why this is a problem, for us as Jews, is important. I think there needs to be a wide understanding of that.

 

 

FOODBANK COLLECTION AT FOREST GAME

 
 
 
 

Items that they urgently need are :
• Juice (long life)
• Long life sponge puddings
• Long life milk
• Tinned vegetables
• Tinned meat
• Rice pudding
• Coffee
• Toilet roll (and other toiletries

Please note they already have plenty of beans, tea and pasta

Thank you for your generous support.
For further information about Hammersmith and Fulham Food bank, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

H&F Food Bank – Thank you !

A huge thank you to all who donated to the Chelsea Supporters Trust collection for the Hammersmith and Fulham Food Bank before the Leicester game on Saturday.  Your generous donations meant we were able to fill up 3 trolleys of much needed food and toiletries. This be will much appreciated by those in need this Christmas. Aside from all the items there were some very generous cash donations too.

Well done to Trust board member, Cliff Auger, who is the driving force behind this great initiative.

Thank you also to Sainsbury’s in Fulham Broadway shopping centre for letting us borrow their trollies, and Chelsea FC for enabling us to store the collect food inside the ground.

Please look out for our next collection which will be before the FA cup game against Forest on Jan 5th

For further information about Hammersmith and Fulham Food bank, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Chelsea FC Statement by Bruce Buck

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust welcomes the clear and unambiguous open letter published by Bruce Buck, Chairman of Chelsea FC, today.

The Trust wholeheartedly supports the club’s stance and confirms its commitment to working with Chelsea FC to promote inclusion and eradicate all forms of discrimination.

The full statement by Bruce Buck can be read here

Foodbank Collection at Leicester game

Chelsea Supporters Trust are really pleased to announce that our very successful collections for the Hammersmith and Fulham Food Bank will recommence before this Saturday’s home game against Leicester.

If you are coming to the game on Saturday, the collection point for donations will once again be at the CFCUK stall which is opposite the Fulham Broadway Centre and next to the old Fulham Town Hall, please bring any donations there by 2.00pm.

Our thanks go to Chelsea FC who are kindly providing us with a storage facility for the donated items.

We hope you can give generously from the list of items below or if you can spare any amount of money that is also welcome.
Items that they urgently need are :
• Juice (long life)
• Long life sponge puddings
• Long life milk
• Tinned vegetables
• Tinned meat
• Rice pudding
• Coffee
• Toilet roll (and other toiletries

Please note they already have plenty of beans, tea and pasta

Thank you for your generous support.
For further information about Hammersmith and Fulham Food bank, visit their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Chelsea v Man City – Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Statement

Chelsea Supporters Trust logoThe Chelsea Supporters’ Trust notes that the Club and the Metropolitan Police are investigating a specific incident that occurred during Saturday’s match against Manchester City.

The Trust condemns all racist abuse whether it is aimed at players or supporters. There is no place for it in the game.

Clearly due process needs to be followed and we will comment further after the conclusion of the investigation in to the incident.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust meets with the Premier League

Supporter representatives from every top-flight club, including the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust recently met with Premier League executives to discuss a range of issues impacting match-going fans.

The meeting took place under the auspices of the Football Supporters Federation on 11th October and was attended by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and other league officials.

Fan representatives from every Premier League club attended the meeting, drawn from the FSF’s network of democratically structured trusts and supporter groups, as well as some fanzines and activists. Supporters Direct also attended.

This was the fifth meeting between fan organisations and the Premier League which followed Government recommendations on fan engagement. The first took place in July 2016.

Future meetings will take place on a bi-annual basis with the next one due to take place in Spring 2019.

CST Annual Survey 2018 – Results

The results of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Annual Survey are now available and can be downloaded here.

We’d like to thank all of you who participated in the survey held between Mid-April until the end of May this year. It is arguably one of the most important activities the Trust is involved with on your behalf. It is an important barometer of our concerns, issues and views on the Club and in addition the results feed in to the motions you vote on at the AGM which in turn become CST policy for the year ahead.

We will be meeting with the Club in November to discuss the survey results in detail and any concerns and issues arising.

The key points and highlights are as follows:

  • There was a great response this year with nearly 3,000 responses received.
  • It was very encouraging to see a growth in the number of 16-25 year-olds participating in the survey. These are the supporters that represent the future of the Club’s support and it’s great to see them getting involved
  • The survey came out before the Club’s announcement regarding the postponement of Stadium redevelopment. However the views expressed regarding the temporary stadium mirror last year’s: roughly speaking Twickenham 50%, Wembley 40% and Stratford 10%.
  • One of the strongest messages coming through in the Survey was the support for the introduction of Safe Standing. We asked in the context of a new build stadium but it was referred to regularly throughout the survey, particularly in response to any questions regarding atmosphere. It is our belief that the Club should now push forward with the introduction of rail seating i.e. Safe Standing at Stamford Bridge in its current configuration as soon as possible.
  • It will come as little surprise that the supporters still find prices too high and many are put off attending or attending as often as they would like as a consequence.
  • A recurrent theme was the need to provide for the fans of the future with more availability and options for younger supporters. This was not just for junior supporters but also for young adults; we are probably all aware of the crippling costs associated with living or working in London and the transition from buying ‘child’ tickets to paying full adult price is brutal.
  • This would also assist in the issue of improving atmosphere; the combination of safe standing and increased young adult attendance can only lead to a better atmosphere in the ground.
  • Kick off times remain a point of contention, with Mondays and (sadly for this year) Thursdays seen as particularly unpopular.
  • It is also clear that most supporters feel that more notice should be given before moving games; more than 50% supported a minimum of 6-8 weeks’ notice. While the TV companies tend to meet their target of 6-8 weeks early in the season, as the season goes on they often revert to short notice causing chaos for travel and planning for both UK and Overseas supporters.  
  • Supporters were in favour of a winter break by roughly 2 to 1, preferring a single weekend break for all clubs over a staggered one (which was subsequently announced)
  • As is usually the case after a less successful season, significant dissatisfaction with some aspects of the running of the Club was evident. Particular areas of concern were a lack of footballing knowledge on the Board and poor recruitment/operation in the transfer window.
  • The Supporter Liaison Office role at Chelsea continues to be performed by a full time employee of the Club, whereas three quarters of supporters feel that this vital role in representing supporters interests to the Club and liaising with the Club should be done by an independent supporter.

Once again thanks for your support.

David Chidgey

Chairman, Chelsea Supporters Trust

Board Election and Motions Vote results

The results of the recent Chelsea Supporters Trust Board election and the voting on each CST Motion, as proposed in the AGM of 12th August have now been released.

With 10 candidates standing for the 9 Board places available, a full election was required rather than an affirmative vote. The following 9 candidates receiving the most votes were duly elected:

Cliff Auger; David Chidgey; Henry Fowler; Paul Hay; David Johnstone; Theresa Magee; Robert Palmer; Chris Rayburn; Dan Silver; 

We trust the membership will extend a warm welcome to new Board members Paul Hay, Theresa Magee and Robert Palmer and to the returning Board members as well.

The first meeting of the new Board was held on Tuesday October 2nd where David Chidgey was re-elected to serve his third year as Chairman. Paul Jeffrey will remain in position as Secretary. The Board agreed to co-opt the following to the Board: Tim Rolls; Stuart Kinner; Ramzi Shammas; Isabella Hislop; Lucy Caton and Debs Coady.

In addition, we have now received the results of the voting for the Motions from the Board.

In short these are as follows (votes in favour in brackets):

  • Approval of 2016/17 accounts (92.21%);
  • CST Affiliations (95.59%);
  • The Future of Stamford Bridge (99.12%)
  • Support of Chelsea Pitch Owners (98.23%);
  • Safe Standing (90.63%)
  • Atmosphere Concerns (97.33%);
  • Ticket Pricing and Availability (98.22%);
  • Fixture Scheduling (97.78%);
  • Membership of Safety Advisory Group (94.20%);
  • Ticket Touting (97.76%);
  • Stakeholder Engagement (96.38%);
  • Football in the Community (97.75%);
  • Club Heritage (98.17%);
  • Supporters Club Ticket Allocations (90.95%)
  • Supporter Liaison Officer (97.30%)
  • Supporter Safety (99.55%)

Full details of the Motions can be found here

As you can see every Motion proposed by the Board has been backed positively with each motion being passed by over 90 % of the votes cast

This gives the new Board a very strong mandate from the membership going forward on the supporter issues that affect them most.

To all of our members who took part in the AGM, the election of the Board and for voting on the Motions, many thanks. This democratic process is exactly what sets the Chelsea Supporters Trust apart in that we are answerable to the membership and we work on the issues mandated by the membership.

Special General Meeting with Special Guest, Henry Winter

The next CST Special General Meeting will be held on Saturday 20th October at 15:30 pm (after the Chelsea v Man Utd match) at The Atlas Pub (upstairs) 16 Seagrave Road London SW6 1RX 

 

The Venue

The venue for the SGM is the upstairs Bar of The Atlas Pub in Seagrave Road, 15 minutes’ walk from Stamford Bridge and close to West Brompton underground station. Attendance at the meeting is open to paid up voting members of the Trust only. Membership to the CST costs £5 per year and includes a free pin badge. You can sign up easily from our website and we accept payment by credit or debit card or via PayPal. We hope as many of you as possible will attend in person but as there is limited space available, to avoid disappointment, please confirm that you will be attending by emailing membership@chelseasupporterstrust.com 

Unable to Attend?
With thanks to the Chelsea FanCast, overseas members or those unable to attend in person will be able to listen to the meeting live and interact online at www.mixlr.com/chelsea-fancast. Minutes and a podcast of the SGM will be available following the meeting.

AGENDA

  1. Introduction
  2. Chairman’s Report
  3. Updates on progress and actions regarding motions passed at AGM (Working Group Reports): –
    • Annual Survey (David Chidgey on behalf of Ramzi Shammas)
    • Supporter Issues (Cliff Auger/Tim Rolls)
    • Community (Cliff Auger)
    • Safe Standing (Henry Fowler)
  1. Members Q & A
    • An opportunity for members to ask the Board questions on issues of concern to them
  2. Any Other Business

Special Guest: Henry Winter, Chief Football Writer of The Times

Henry Winter is chief football writer of The Times. A five-times winner of football journalist of the year in England, Henry is a Ballon d’Or judge and in 2018 covered his eighth World Cup finals.

Henry is one of the most respected football journalists writing today and has always championed supporters’ issues. With a deep love for the game, he inherently understands both supporters importance to the game as a whole and the hardships they increasingly endure in modern football, ruled by big business and money.

Henry also walks the walk as well as talking the talk, evidenced by his engagement with football supporters on twitter and his reading of football fanzines, cfcuk among them. 

In short, Henry ‘gets it’ and we are delighted to have him as our special guest at our SGM. We’ll be talking to Henry about his experiences writing about football for over 20 years; the relationship between football supporters and the football press; why supporters issues are so important to the future of the game as well as his thoughts on Chelsea past and present.

Close
It is anticipated that the formal meeting will end by 17.30/18.00 at the latest.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
Making your voice heard