Search icon


05th Nov 2018

Stoke City to hold internal discussions following James McClean incident

McClean was the subject of abuse from some fans over his decision not to wear a poppy

Darragh Murphy

Stoke City are planning a full-scale internal investigation into the most recent reaction to James McClean’s decision to not wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his jersey

The Stoke Sentinel report that the Championship club will this week look into the treatment of McClean by supporters at the bet365 Stadium, as well as the winger’s response on social media.

McClean was subjected to abuse from the stands when he came on as a late substitute in Stoke’s 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday evening.

It’s believed that small groups of home and away fans booed the Republic of Ireland international for refusing to wear a poppy.

Stewards were forced to intervene on the full-time whistle, when objects were reportedly thrown in McClean’s direction.

The 29-year-old released a statement on the incident on Instagram that evening, when he thanked the “educated” fans who supported his choice but hit out at the “uneducated cavemen in the left corner of the Boothen End who sing their anti-Irish song every game.”

He added: “I am a proud Fenian and no c**t will ever change that so sing away.”

Stoke City also intend to investigate whether racist or sectarian chanting took place during Saturday’s game.

Chairwoman of Stoke fans’ council, Angela Smith, has confirmed that McClean and Saturday’s incident will be added to their agenda while supporters have also asked her to discuss the matter with the club’s chief executive Tony Scholes.

Smith told the Sentinel: “I’ve already had two comments from supporters’ council members – and nearly 300 others from other fans – who want us to put it on the agenda for our next meeting and we will. We are democratic so we will see what the club say.

“My parents and my grandparents fought in wars to give people the right to have free speech. James McClean, like anyone, has every right to choose to or not to do what he likes; that’s what our forefathers fought for. If everyone is ordered to wear a poppy it loses any meaning.

“My personal view is that when you are in a situation like he was at the end of the match, from opposition and home fans, perhaps it would have been better if he hadn’t posted what he then did on social media to make sure he inflame did not the situation.

“I find it very difficult to condone people singing political songs at football but, again, it’s a democratic society. If people chant about racism or sectarianism that should not and will not be tolerated.”