For many, football itself is like a religion, although what many people may not realise is that the nation’s love of the beautiful game has in fact provided common ground for the many different faiths that call Britain home, enabling people of different cultures and ethnicities to forge a shared culture.
This is something that can be explored in more detail at the Jewish Museum in Camden, where a special exhibition called Four Four Jew is about to be launched.
Form October 10th to February 23rd, the display will tell the story of how the huge numbers of Jewish immigrants who arrived in Britain at the turn of the 20th century were able to integrate into their new surroundings by adopting football as a major part of their culture.
Indeed, over the last 100 years or so the impact of the Jewish community in English football has been extremely noticeable, with Lord Alan Sugar having acted as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC from 1991 to 2001, while David Dein was vice-chairman of both Arsenal FC and the Football Association.
Among the fascinating pieces on show as part of the exhibit is a photograph of the English national team giving a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938, along with a number of other artefacts.
Many famous football players, celebrities and fans have also contributed to the display by either donating artefacts or helping to shape the exhibit with their creative input, and several special events will be taking place throughout the display’s run.
Interestingly, the launch of this unique exhibit comes at a time when the social inclusion of the Jewish community in English football has come under the microscope, with both the Metropolitan Police and the FA launching high-profile campaigns to eradicate the controversial use of the ‘Y-word’ by Tottenham fans as a way of ironically expressing their Jewish connections.