James McClean complains of culture of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sectarianism

James McClean.
James McClean.

James McClean has reacted incredulously to news that the English Football Association is investigating him and complained of a culture of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sectarianism among some football supporters across the water.

The Stoke City and Republic of Ireland winger was subjected to a torrent of abuse from a minority of football fans following Stoke’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday.

It's believed the abuse was levelled at Mr. McClean over his conscientious refusal to don a Remembrance Day poppy in protest at atrocities committed by British armed forces in Ireland.

Following the weekend's incident the Derry footballer branded his abusers ‘uneducated cavemen’ and declared that he was a ‘proud Fenian’ and ‘nothing will change that’. This morning the FA said it was investigating.

Now Mr. McClean has responded via Instagram asking: "The FA are investigating me after Saturday's event, for what exactly?"

"Yet 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 too. They turn a blind eye and not a single word or condemnation of any sort."

Mr. McClean claimed anti-Irish prejudice was not taken as seriously as other forms of bigotry in Britain.

He said he believed racist, Islamophobic, sexist or homophobic abuse would be dealt with in a "completely different way".

"But like the Neil Lennon case in Scotland because we are Irish Catholics they turn a blind eye and nothing is ever said and done," he said.

Meanwhile, Manchester United star Nemanja Matić has outlined that the slaughter of hundreds of civilians during the British and American led NATO bombing of his native Serbia in 1999 had prompted his decision not to wear a poppy at the weekend.