Since Jesse Marsch brought Wilfried Gnonto to Leeds United on deadline day in August, the young Italian has been a fan favorite. It wasn’t long after the young Italian made his debut in late October that the Elland Road faithful rewarded him with his own song. Unfortunately, the chant has quickly become a source of embarrassment for the club from West Yorkshire.
The chant begins with references to Gnonto being from Italy, saying “He eats spaghetti, he drinks Moretti” before pulling a complete 180 and making claims about the size of the 19-year-old’s genitals. While fans in favor of the chant defend it as nothing more than poking fun at his first name, many have been calling for it to be scrapped, saying it perpetuates hurtful and racist stereotypes.
Willy Gnonto chant pic.twitter.com/NihVLuKhdF— FootballSoccerMeme (@fsmofficialTW) November 6, 2022
Since being contacted by Kick It Out, an organization aimed at ending discrimination in sports, Leeds put out a message from Marsch on social media asking fans to change the lyrics of the song to be more respectful towards Gnonto.
"We always want to be respectful" Jesse on Willy's chant pic.twitter.com/J9ZLGmRXuP— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 12, 2023
The Italian international has fully deserved his praise with a number of superb performances this season. His technical brilliance has been clear to see and his stats are finally beginning to back that up.
Gnonto just scored his first ever Premier League goal and it was a BEAUTY pic.twitter.com/JCUFNfniM4— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) January 4, 2023
A goal and assist in six Premier League appearances are just the beginning for Gnonto, who has 3.03 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes, comparable to Christian Pulisic and Miguel Almiron.
Ethereal creativity combined with spectacular ability makes Gnonto a deadly force on the break as opposing sides have learned.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 5, 2023
So what will happen to the chant? Fans online have suggestions ranging from changing the song entirely to just the last line.
— Brad (@bdods_) January 6, 2023
— L.U.F.C~MOT (@LUFCFan15) January 7, 2023
While fan opinion still seems to be split, the club’s position indicates that the song’s days are numbered. The one common denominator is that supporters love Willy and most likely will make a change to give him the proper respect he deserves.