Death threats for Sunderland's Irish winger James McClean over poppies


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The Independent Football

Sunderland's Irish winger James McClean has received death threats over his decision not to wear a poppy on his shirt last weekend. Martin O'Neill revealed the news speaking after yesterday's game against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

McClean was barracked by some supporters yesterday over his decision. "James will deal with it," O'Neill said. "I think it's probably to do with the issue of last week. It's a free choice in this world. James has lived with a lot of things, he's getting death threats as well now so that doesn't help."

One former British solider wrote on Twitter earlier this week that McClean "deserves to be shot dead + body dragged past the cenotaph" before later withdrawing the comments.

McClean is from Derry – close to the site of Bloody Sunday in 1972 – and comes from a nationalist background. He plays international football for the Republic of Ireland and refused to wear a shirt with an embroidered poppy last week against Everton.

Meanwhile, Fulham manager Martin Jol said that although Brede Hangeland's red card was in keeping with the "letter of the law", it was "a bit harsh". He did not think that referee Lee Probert needed to send Hangeland off. "It would be nice if referees had played football themselves and reffed in the spirit of the game."

O'Neill said it was "amazing" that players still tackled like that given the laws. "Sometimes I don't understand players."