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15th Nov 2015

A former British soldier defends James McClean from ‘poppy fascism’

A different point of view


James McClean has generated a few headlines in recent weeks, but at the minute, he’s probably more concerned helping his national side overcome Bosnia-Herzegovina and reach Euro 2016.

He may well have explained his reasons for not wearing a poppy on several occasions, but the Irish winger still criticised by many who refuse to accept his viewpoint.

As the West Brom man prepares for Monday night’s game against Bosnia, a British soldier has now condemned those that have been critical of his decision not to wear a poppy.

Lee Lavis, a former member of the British Army that served in Northern Ireland, has written the following in the Derry Journal:

‘We, having dutifully served in our nation’s armed forces, are writing in response to the annual vilification of Derry born footballer James McClean, because of his decision not to wear a team shirt embroidered with a red Poppy.

‘Furthermore, we would also like to collectively assert our understanding of his reasoning and support for the decision he has taken.

‘Consequently, to those who have accused Mr. McClean of being a war monger, anti-British and a terrorist, issued death threats or set up a Facebook Page calling for him to be ‘booted out of English football’ we would ask the following question: Does this landscape of hate represent a fitting a tribute to those who have died in a war, or is it a case of ‘Poppy fascism’ at its worst?’

The statement was issued to the Derry Journal ahead of a public event at which Lavis and another former British soldier were due to speak about their experiences in the armed forces.


James McClean