Only A Game? - Alan Parry, ‘Londonderry’ and James McClean

Derry born Republic of Ireland international James McClean (left) and Sky Sports commentator, Alan Parry.
Derry born Republic of Ireland international James McClean (left) and Sky Sports commentator, Alan Parry.

Alan Parry was never my favourite football commentator but after what his comments about James McClean earlier this week I can’t stand him now.

Unless you’ve been without a 4G or Wifi connection you will have heard what Parry uttered during the West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City game earlier this week.

“James McClean, the Northern Irish man from Londonderry,” said Parry during the game.

Northern Irish is not a nationality. That is a fact. There is no such thing as a Northern Irish passport. There are British and Irish passports but not Northern Irish. When it comes to nationalities, describing someone as a bottle of tomato ketchup is as relevant as saying they are Northern Irish.

Now that we have that first bit of nonsense out of the way let’s look at why Parry referred to McClean as coming from Londonderry.

I can’t argue with the facts. The official name of the city McClean comes from is Londonderry.

But, it’s utterly ridiculous and conceited for people from a certain political persuasion to expect other people from another political persuasion to refer to the city we live in as ‘Londonderry’.

I and many others respect other people when they call this wee part of the world Londonderry. So why did Parry feel the need to use such a provocative word?

Parry is an experienced commentator. He has been working in journalism for over 40 years. I’d like to think that as someone who is paid to commentate on a sport and I presume is paid quite handsomely for it, Alan Parry would know his onions.

If Parry is not aware of where James McClean stands on certain issues of nationalism and politics then perhaps it’s time Sky Sports replaced him with someone more knowledgeable.

However, I suspect Parry is more than familiar with all of the different stories about James McClean’s political opinions. This means Parry knew exactly what he was doing when he said what he did on Monday evening.

One of the players on the pitch was Raheem Sterling. Sterling recently joined Manchester City from Liverpool and is regarded as one of the hottest young talents in the league.

Sterling is also an England international but he was born and spent the first seven years of his life growing up in Kingston, Jamaica.

Not once did Alan Parry refer to Sterling as Jamaican or from Kingston.

Alan Parry was completely unprofessional in his comments about McClean and it’s absolutely ridiculous to justify it by saying ‘McClean was asking for it’.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything James McClean says or does but he is entitled to his opinion just like everyone else.

It’s okay to disagree with McClean on what he has to say. I am not saying he shouldn’t be challenged. What I am saying is, is that his opinion and right to have one should be respected.

There’s nothing to be gained by petty provocative remarks such as Parry’s and two wrongs do not make a right.

I contacted Sky Sports news this week to ask for a comment on what Parry had said. I am still waiting for a reply. I dare say had I been enquiring about a subscription they’d have called me back straight away!