James McClean: FA investigate Barnsley after anti-IRA chants aimed at Stoke winger

McClean, who hails from Derry, chooses not to wear a poppy on his shirt

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Tuesday 12 November 2019 10:07 GMT
Clucas and Allen fire home in second half vs Barnsley

The Football Association have opened an investigation into alleged discriminatory behaviour during Barnsley’s defeat to Stoke City on Saturday.

James McClean, the Stoke and Republic of Ireland winger, was regularly booed and subjected to sectarian chanting by a section of the home crowd at Oakwell.

Anti-IRA and anti-Pope songs were directed at McClean, who hails from Derry, where British soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday in 1972, killing 13.

It is understood that the referee Jeremy Simpson included an allegation of discriminatory behaviour in his match report, leading to the FA’s investigation.

The meeting between the two Championship strugglers came on the eve of Remembrance Sunday, with a minute’s silence held before the game and both sets of players wearing poppies of their shirts.

McClean chooses not wear a poppy as it commemorates all British military personnel and he believes it would be disrespectful to the victims of Bloody Sunday and others who lost their lives in The Troubles.

In a statement released last year, McClean said: “I know many people won’t agree with my decision or even attempt to gain an understanding of why I don’t wear a poppy.

“I accept that but I would ask people to be respectful of the choice I have made, just as I’m respectful of people who do choose to wear a poppy.”

McClean was targeted by his own supporters last year for not wearing the poppy during Stoke’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough.

The 30-year-old described the fans in question as “uneducated cavemen”, adding: “They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken.”

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