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James McClean describes ‘cowards’ who threw bottles, coins and lighters during game

Republic of Ireland winger faced criticism for refusing to wear the Remembrance Day poppy

McClean previously revealed that he has had death threats with many people viewing him as “anti-British”. Photograph: Reuters/John Sibley

Irish soccer star James McClean has claimed fans threw bottles, coins and lighters at him during an English premier league game on Saturday.

The West Brom footballer was brought on as substitute during their 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield. McClean, who is originally from Derry, picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Huddersfield’s Tom Ince, which was later highlighted on Match of the Day on Saturday night.

The 28-year-old wrote on Twitter: “Convenient how match of the day cameras pick up my tackle. But fail to pick up bottles, coins and lighters been throwing in same incident.”

In a separate post on Instagram, he wrote: “Frustrating is the best word to describe today...ps launching bottles and other objects from up in the stands makes you cowards not hard men.”

The English Football Association (FA) receives match officials’ reports regarding the previous weekend’s games on Monday mornings, and if it is made aware of an incident, an investigation is launched.

The FA said it could not comment on the matter until the match official’s report had been looked at.

The Republic of Ireland winger has faced criticism in the past for refusing to wear a football kit bearing the traditional Remembrance Day poppy as well as deciding against representing Northern Ireland at international level despite growing up in Derry and appearing for them at underage level.


McClean previously revealed that he has had death threats with many people viewing him as “anti-British”.

“I want to go on record here and say I’ve never been anti-British. There’s certain things that I don’t agree with, my beliefs, but I take people at face value,” he said earlier this year.

“I’ve had a lot of death threats which started when I declared myself for the Republic. I played for Northern Ireland for the youth system. I never hid from the fact that I took advantage of that system to better myself but I never had aspirations to play for Northern Ireland.

“I was getting death threats for declaring for my country.”

Poppy stance

McClean explained his stance on the poppy while playing with Wigan in 2015 in a letter posted on the club’s website to its chairman Dave Whelan ahead of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first World War.

McClean said he had “complete respect” for those who fought and died in both World Wars.

“I mourn their deaths like every other decent person and if the poppy was a symbol only for the lost souls of World War One and Two I would wear one; I want to make that 100 per cent clear. You must understand this,” he wrote.

“But the poppy is used to remember victims of other conflicts since 1945 and this is where the problem starts for me.

“For people from the North of Ireland such as myself, and specifically those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different.

“Please understand, Mr Whelan, that when you come from Creggan like myself or the Bogside, Brandywell or the majority of places in Derry, every person still lives in the shadow of one of the darkest days in Ireland’s history - even if, like me, you were born nearly 20 years after the event. It is just a part of who we are, ingrained into us from birth.

“Mr Whelan, for me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles - and Bloody Sunday especially - as I have in the past been accused of disrespecting the victims of WWI and WWII.

“It would be seen as an act of disrespect to those people; to my people.”