James McClean is no stranger to Poppy controversy, and this year is no different.
November. The time of year when many people up and down the country will wear a poppy in respect to those who have fought and died for Great Britain. Remembrance Day - or Armistice Day - has been observed in Commonwealth states since the end of the World War One to remember their soldiers who died in the line of duty.
Winger, James McClean, 29, hasn’t been short of controversy over the years since his arrival to the English Premier League in 2012. His refusal to wear a poppy has become something of an annual controversy, with some citing him as a reason for their own refusal to wear poppies. McClean’s stance has yet again brought him media attention. In the aftermath of the full-time whistle on Saturday in Stoke’s home draw with Middlesbrough, McClean, not wearing a poppy, was involved in a scuffle with a set of fans next to the tunnel, having been booed by sections of both teams' supporters throughout the match.
Provoked by this incident, he has since posted about the topic twice on social media. He stated in the first post: “Week in, week out for the past seven years I get constant sectarian abuse, death threats, objects being thrown, chanting which is heard loud and clear every week which my family, wife and kids have to listen to. They (the FA) turn a blind eye and not a single word or condemnation of any sort." In the second, he thanked fans “who are actually educated and support him”. The FA are now investigating the situation with the possibility of taking disciplinary action.
James McClean has always stated in the media that he would wear a poppy if it meant honouring those who fought in the two World Wars, but he would not wear one for political reasons due to his heritage in Londonderry, Northern Ireland where British soldiers shot dead 13 innocent protestors in what was dubbed “Bloody Sunday” back in 1972.
Despite relegated Stoke City now playing in the Championship, this saga looks set to continue bringing the public gaze onto McClean for the remainder of his career in English football.