I still remember the day my Dad took me to see my first football match. The other team’s striker, Paul Sheringham, had lost his marker and curled a twenty-yarder into the top right of the net. It was a good goal.
My Dad, a kind and gentle man who worked as a train driver for thirty years, started to hiss like a snake. He nudged me to join in and I started hissing as well. Soon enough, our whole section was hissing at the opposition’s players. I laughed, feeling like a big man – even though I was only ten years old at the time.
My Dad was smiling with pride. Everytime the other side did something our supporters hated, the crowd hissed.
Luckily our team equalised with five minutes to go and the game ended in a draw. Dad said we’d grab some fish and chips to celebrate my first match.
On the way back, I asked my Dad why everyone was hissing. He said it was just like booing a pantomime villain. It was just a bit of silly fun everyone joined in on.
It was only a few weeks later I learnt that the other side had Jewish roots and we were hissing to mimic the sound of gas chambers.