The paper that backs 'Franco's club' has the nerve to call us racists?

So Spanish sports paper Marca has branded West Ham fans as racists. The hypocrisy is stunning, from a paper who have been in the pocket of 'Franco's club' for more than seven decades.

That's Real Madrid to the uninitiated. Marca, have unashamedly supported them, been cheerleaders for them and have been accused of doing their transfer dirty work. Unbiased? Don't make me laugh.

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Their story this week is a remarkable attack not only on West Ham, but Chelsea too (I'll leave them to fight their own battles) as well as claiming that Spurs are universally hated throughout the UK for their Jewish heritage.

Marca's back catalogue needs some explaining. General Franco, Spain's fascist dictator from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 to his death in 1975, was always reputed to have supported Real, and there are many allegations that he actively aided their success through bent referees and corruption from Spanish football authorities.

Barcelona are not slow in making such claims.

Marca in turn have, it is claimed, always supported and aided Real during the Franco years and beyond. So, say their critics, are implicit in the racism of Franco's regime. A leader who is reputed to have given Hitler a list of Spanish Jews during the Second World War.

I wouldn't dare suggest that Marca have any such leanings these days, but when they start making claims of racism and anti-Semitism elsewhere, it's a touch rich to say the least.

I always refuse to use the word 'hate' when discussing football. It's only as game, for heaven's sake. And after ourselves, Spurs and Chelsea have hit back at such wild accusations, Marca's only reply is to question the translation of the word 'hate.' Not a hint of an apology for such a slur.

It would be equally foolish to suggest that racism doesn't fester in every corner of the globe somewhere. Even the White House.

But to make such a sweeping generalisation against, of all people, the folk from London's East End, is plainly daft. Yes, I have heard the silly song about foreskins from a few of our boy scouts--absolutely reprehensible--but to imply that there are gangs of racists running amok is just not true.

What is even worse is that Marca claimed that Spurs are hated because of their Jewish heritage by clubs all over the country. Absolute nonsense.

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It is to our credit that our joint owner David Gold, Jewish by birth, has been at the forefront of attempts to eradicate such behaviour. And it has been largely successful. I would also point out that Yossi Benayoun and Eyal Berkovic were much loved in these parts.

And we also were the leaders in the signing of local black English players, as well as the wonderful Clyde Best.

Just to make it clear. We don't dislike Spurs because the have a Jewish heritage, we dislike them because they are our closest, bitter rivals, and because they are annoyingly insistent that they are a big club, bigger than us and they are inherently superior.

And some of their fans call us 'Pikeys' (a word derived to describe people who lived on the 'turnpike' in centuries gone by, living on the road).

When ignorant people like Marca start calling us Jew-haters, they really do need a potted history lesson about the East End, and how our grandparents and parents reacted to war-time refugees.

Many thousands of terrified Jews ran from Hitler and arrived in their droves in the East End from the mid-1930s until the end of the war. They were welcomed and protected by East Enders who spawned the heritage and history of West Ham United.

West Ham is a working class club with solid socialist roots, well that's how I was brought up, and a dockland area is always full of people from all countries and religions.

My own late father told me stories of the days when the East End stood shoulder to shoulder to fight Oswald Mosley's black-shirted fascists pre-war to stop them getting into the area to attack the Jews.

I would suggest Marca put 'Cable Street' into a Google search to discover our attitude to Jewish refugees and incoming arrivals from all corners of the world.

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My old fella worked for a Jewish tie-maker in Aldgate and several Jewish-owned print companies. I never heard him or any of my family or friends talk of hatred.

There will always be bigots, and idiots, in all walks of life but I would suggest that Marca shows more concern about a recent poll that a majority of Spaniards think Franco was right, rather than worry about a few silly football songs.

They might also reflect on the fact that their impartiality is damaged by the rabid support for Real. Even Sir Alex Ferguson once hammered them for " unsettling" Madrid's transfer targets and doing their tapping up for them.

That was a while ago, but it is being suggested that the same approach is now being aimed at Spurs' striker Harry Kane. Mind you, I would be more than happy to see Kane playing for Madrid rather those chancers from White Hart Lane!

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