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Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?: The Story of English Football's Forgotten Tribe [Hardcover]

Anthony Clavane
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Sep 2012

Jews don't do football. Or, at least, they don't play it. This, at any rate, is the myth. Apart from the relatively recent appearance of high-profile foreign owners like Roman Abramovich, Randy Lerner and the Glazers, the Jewish impact on the game has appeared to be on the light side.

Anthony Clavane uncovers a secret history of Jewish involvement in English football. Featuring interviews with fans, directors, agents, hangers-on, players and managers it analyses and explains, but above all it entertains.

Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? takes a long hard look at how and why Jews - from Gutmann to Grant, from Goldberg to Glazer - have changed the game; and been changed by it in turn.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (27 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857388126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857388124
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'An enthralling new book' Patrick Barclay, Evening Standard.

'In this thought-provoking, absorbing exploration of what he terms 'English football's forgotten tribe', Anthony Clavane reminds us there have been notable homegrown footballers of the faith' Independent on Sunday.

'The epic Anglo-Jewish journey from ghetto outsiders to football insiders' New Statesman.

'A must-read for all football fans' Jewish Chronicle.

'beautifully told ... remarkable book ... superbly written' Morning Star.

'brilliant' Jewish Chronicle.

'Clavane offers us a splendid, warmly written slice of untold social history' New Statesman.

'with great warmth and skill weaves their individual sporting stories into the longer arc of English Jewish history' Times Literary Supplement.

'His research is outstanding, the complexity of his argument deftly handled and his snapshots unforgettable' When Saturday Comes.

From the Inside Flap

Ever since the children of penniless immigrants caught the train from Whitechapel to White Hart Lane - to be greeted with the refrain: 'Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?' - a forgotten tribe of trailblazers have helped to shape the Beautiful Game. In this passionate and illuminating book, Anthony Clavane argues that Jewish figures such as Louis Brookman, Leslie Goldberg, Willy Meisl, David Pleat and David Dein have played a key, if sometimes forgotten, role in football's transformation from a working-class pursuit played in crumbling arenas to a global entertainment industry. In telling the fascinating lives of these largely unsung pioneers, Clavane uncovers a hidden history of Jewish involvement in English football: from the Brady Street boys, an all-Jewish team who were as handy with their fists as they were with their feet, to shady figures like One-Armed Lou, a gangster with chutzpah who never told the story of his missing limb the same way twice, through to the businessmen who helped form the breakaway Premier League, and in the process changed the English game for ever. Featuring larger-than-life characters such as the irrepressible Leyton Orient chairman Harry Zussman, Spurs superfan Morris Keston and the pugnacious winger Mark Lazarus, as well as placing the story firmly into the context of this immigrant community's integration into British society, Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? is a brilliant exploration of a crucial but hitherto overlooked strand in the history of English football.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE AND A MUST READ! 1 Oct 2012
By Toon 9
Just finished "Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?". What a brilliant interesting book, probably the best football book I've ever read! And I've read a few... The story Anthony Clavane tells has to my knowledge never been told before -the jewishness of English football and vice versa. A delight to read, much thanks to the writer's beautiful prose.
A unique book and a well needed breath of fresh air when it comes to books about football - or even books in general! Serious, enlightening and funny at times. Just as good as Clavane's first book, "Promised Land".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
'Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?' is the logical sequel to Anthony Clavane's previous book, the wonderful 'Promised Land'. Whereas the latter focussed on the interplay between Jewishness and football in the context of a single city/club (Leeds), 'Does Your Rabbi ...' takes a broader perspective on the role played by Jewish figures in development of the English game. Using a simple three-fold periodisation and hanging the narrative around a series of key individuals, Clavane tells a compelling story that not only lifts the stone on a largely hidden side of football history, but also constitutes an impressive essay on the dilemmas confronting Judaism is Britain over the course of the past century. The book is fascinating, funny, sad and chastening in equal measure. Clavane has a special talent for bringing his characters to life. Some - players such as Louis Bookman, Leslie Goldberg/Gaunt and Mark Lazarus - are properly rehabilitated as figures whose broader social importance matches their status as outsider-pioneers in the game. Others - Roman Abramovich, David Pleat, David Dein, David Bernstein - are perhaps better known, but Clavane makes sure that the reader understands their importance to key transformations in the English game. There is also space for under-appreciated visionaries, the brilliant journalist/tactician Willy Meisl being the prime example. This absorbing tour de force confirms Anthony Clavane as one of the finest sports writers currently working.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? 30 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
`Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?' is much more than the story of Jewish engagement with professional football in the UK, fascinating and compelling though that story proves to be. It's also much more than a Jewish football history, engrossing and unexpected though that history proves to be. In writing this extraordinary account Anthony Clavane turns a powerful and accurate spotlight on the bigoted, old-fashioned and reactionary so-called values that have held back not only the development of our `national game' but the nation itself. This is a book that lays bare awkward truths that have been hidden for so long, a book in which the `English' (by whatever definition one chooses) can clearly see themselves. It is also a book about heroes, real heroes who emerged through struggle and adversity and it is also the best book I ever come across that defines and understands this obsessive passion so many us in Britain have for glorious game of association football. `Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here' is compelling, entertaining, always surprising and most importantly it is inspiring. A must read for football fans and non-football fans alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here 30 Jan 2013
By emjay
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyable - a comprehensive and interesting read. The author had researched his subject well and very little was omitted
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read 26 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I was researching an article about Tottenham Hotspur FC for the Wall St Journal, but ended up reading it from cover to cover. It's a very entertaining account of a largely unexplored phenomenon with just the right combination of historical research and personal autobiography. Good title, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does your Rabbi know you're here 29 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My husband thoroughly enjoyed this read . Highly recommended. Received it next day as Prime member. Great present for anyone.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interest levels come and go 20 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some parts of this book are great, in particular the sections on Mark Lazarus and Leyton Orient. Other parts seem to sag slightly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewish Footballers.
I was fascinated by this book as it introduced me to footballers that I wasn't aware of from the 1920's onwards. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paddles O'Maddles
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
Above all, the author has a writing style that flows and never challenges.
It is not an encyclopaedic list of every Jew who has ever been involved in English football, but it... Read more
Published 10 months ago by British Commentator
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick
Great book, informative and well written. A good balance of football history, social history and comment about a subject rarely covered.
Published 11 months ago by nick
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating and insightful journey
Anyone that knows me will be amazed at why I read this book.
1. I am not the most sporting or athletic of people.
2. Read more
Published 12 months ago by DARREN "Big Nose" WALKER
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Clavane Goes Marching On
As a longstanding Spurs fan this book was a necessary purchase and did not disappoint.

Clavane makes many good, relevant and interesting points, but the book is also... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Max M
5.0 out of 5 stars Does your Rabbi know you you're here ??
A very well written book on a subject which in all probability has never been researched in such depth, if at all. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Maryce.
5.0 out of 5 stars Listened to the author
An interesting in depth review of a little known topic.
Not an easy read but clearly a very well researched and informative book.
Published 17 months ago by Barry Levene
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