Former Irish Football Association (IFA) president, Jim Boyce, has told Derry born West Bromwich Albion footballer, James McClean, to keep his political views out of football.
Mr. Boyce, a former vice-president of world football governing body, FIFA, was speaking after West Bromwich Albion fans appeared to boo McClean during his debut for his new club earlier this week.
“Sport and politics should never mix,” said Mr. Boyce. “That sort of abuse is terrible.”
“Normally, fans tend to jeer their own player if he’s not working hard enough, or wants a transfer, but this is different.
“James McClean is a talented footballer, but he needs to be a lot more careful about the way he reacts to situations.
“With him, it isn’t a case of there being a one-off, high-profile incident. There have been several of them,” he added.
Linfield manager and former Northern Ireland international, Warren Feeney, said West Brom fans would be better suited to cheer rather than jeer, McClean.
“With the James McClean situation it’s a difficult one because he’s got his beliefs and fans will have theirs,” he said.
“At the end of the day it’s a football match and he’s out there to play for West Brom. I’m sure he needs the support but you can’t tell what fans are going to do.”
The ‘Journal’ contacted West Bromwich Albion to ask for a comment but the club did not respond.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports commentator, Alan Parry, was accused of ‘trolling’ McClean after he made a point of saying the 26 year-old was “Northern Irish” and from “Londonderry”.
It is unclear whether Parry was being provocative but some fans reacted by posting their opinions on Twitter.
“Daniel Collins wrote: “Insidious #AlanParry can hang head in shame. Obnoxious trolling of #JamesMcClean, a member of Derry’s nationalist community.”
The ‘Journal’ contacted Sky Sports but it declined the opportunity to comment.