Keeping Schtum - a secret history of Jewish football

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Talk Conference

Keeping Schtum - a secret history of Jewish football

  • Thu 8 Nov 2012
Arnold Seigel, Leyton Orient footballer 1946-47
Arnold Seigel, Leyton Orient footballer 1946-47

Freud Museum London

20 Maresfield GardensLondon NW3 5SX


T 020 7435 2002

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 the Austrian ‘Wunderteam’ of the 1930s, 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.

Anthony Clavane is a journalist and author. His book ‘Promised Land: A Northern Love Story’ was 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. It was adapted for the stage 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.