It’s the beginning of November and that means we’re right in the midst of the annual “why doesn’t James McClean wear a poppy?” controversy.
Despite not having worn one over the past few years, the issue still crops up and this year there seems to be an extra element of nastiness to the whole affair. Despite both McClean and his club Stoke City issuing statements confirming the Derryman would not be wearing a poppy at the weekend, he still came in for heavy abuse from both his own fans and fans of The Potters’ opponents Middlesbrough on Saturday evening.
McClean subsequently posted on Instagram, decrying the vitriol he received, saying ‘To the home fans that are actually educated and support me, thank you. To the section of uneducated cavemen in the left hand corner of the Boothen End Stand that want to song their Anti-Irish songs each game and call me a Fenian this and that, I am a PROUD FENIAN. No c**t will ever change that, so sing away.’
This morning it emerged that the initial post is now being investigated by the Football Association, particularly a comment which referred to some Stoke fans as ‘uneducated cavemen’.
For his part, McClean is not backing down and posted a strong statement today which reads:
‘The FA are investigating me after Saturday’s event – for what, exactly?
‘Yet week in, week out for the past seven years, I get constant sectarian abuse, death threats, objects being thrown, chanting which is heard loud and clear every week which my family, wife and kids have to listen to, they turn a blind eye and not a single word or condemnation of any sort.
‘Huddersfield away last year while playing (for) West Brom where there was an incident with their fans which was on the game highlights where the cameras clearly caught it, yet the FA when complaint was made to them said there ‘was not enough evidence’.
‘If it was a person’s skin colour or if it was anti-Muslim, someone’s gender, there would be an uproar and it would be taken in a completely different way and dealt with in a different manner.
‘But like in Neil Lennon’s case in Scotland, because we are Irish Catholics, they turn a blind eye and nothing is ever said and done.’
McClean is referring to Hibernian FC manager Neil Lennon, who has received plenty of abuse throughout his football career and was hit by a coin during a match against Edinburgh rivals Hearts last week.