James McClean hits back at abusers: ‘I am a proud Fenian’
Stoke City and Ireland winger was abused at the weekend for refusing to wear a poppy
Stoke City’s James McClean said “They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken”. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
James McClean has hit back at fans who abused him during Stoke’s 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough at the weekend.
The Ireland international refused to wear a poppy on his jersey for the seventh year in a row but still didn’t manage to escape abuse and boos from visiting fans and also from some of his own team’s fans.
McClean was booed when he came on after 82 minutes and then was subjected to abuse as he left the pitch past the away section where fans allegedly threw items at him. McClean looked to respond to the fans but was directed down the tunnel by stewards.
Afterwards he took to Instagram to defend his stance.
“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken.
“Your abuse, your throwing things, your booing, do your worst.
“To the home fans that are actually educated and support me, thank you.
“To the section of uneducated cavemen in left hand corner of the Boothen End stand that want to sing their anti-Irish song every game and call me a Fenian this and that. I am a proud Fenian and no c**t will ever change that so sing away.”
Stoke released a statement last week defending McClean’s stance and manager Gary Rowett reiterated those points after the match.
“I think it’s any opportunity for away fans to goad somebody. It’s pretty poor.
“It’s his belief and he’s strong enough to come out and with his belief, whether you agree with it or not.
“It’s old news. He’s aware that it’s always going to be a controversial game.”
McClean was not the only player who didn’t wear a poppy over the weekend with Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic also wearing a poppy-less jersey “for personal reasons”.