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Birkbeck’s Pears institute hosts journalist and writer Antony Clavane following recent book launch

The Birkbeck Sport Business Centre supported a separate “sport”-themed seminar event at Birkbeck organised by our colleagues at the College’s Pears Institute For the Study of Anti-Semitism.

“Jews don’t do football. Or at least, they don’t play it.”

Drawing on his new book, Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? The Story of English Football’s Forgotten Tribe, Anthony Clavane dispels this popular myth to reveal the hidden history of Jewish involvement in English football. He argues that football’s transformation from working-class pursuit into a global industry would not have been possible without such forgotten Jewish figures as Harry Morris, Leslie Goldberg, Louis Bookman and Edward Freedman.

Antony Clavane’s presentation promised to be a unique blend of football and cultural history and indeed that promise was kept. In an enthusiastic, humorous and utterly reflective way, Clavane lays down the foundations for not-so-easy-to-ask questions about racism, anti-Semitism, and repression which was more than often initiated by Jews themselves. It is largely apparent that through the story of Jewry in English football, Clavane is able to present a wider picture of the cultural history of English football, as well as the journey of an emigrant community in a new country through the context of their involvement in the national sport of football, while presenting some of the key personalities who have shaped English football like David Dein, Alan Sugar, Roman Abramovich, David Bernstein and many others.

Many of you will know that Anthony Clavane is also the author of the widely acclaimed Promised Land: A Northern Love Story, a memoir of being a Leeds United fan but also an insightful exposition of the place of a football club in the historical development of a major English city and its communities.

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Birkbeck College, London

Clavane, Anthony (2012). Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? The Story of English Football’s Forgotten Tribe. London: Quercus.
For the book page click here

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