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James McClean responds to Graeme Souness comments on poppy stance after boos by fans

James McClean responds to comments made by Graeme Souness on the player’s poppy stance after boos were heard by Swansea fans.

The Wigan forward and Republic of Ireland international sent a text to talkSPORT host Jim White over something Souness said about McClean who respectfully decides against wearing the poppy around Remembrance Day since 2012, a decision which has resulted in a decade of widespread abuse.

McClean heard jeers from Swansea fans during the 2-2 Championship draw with Wigan at the week and, last month, the 33-year-old shared clips of sectarian chants at Sunderland.

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A post shared by James McClean (@macajw)

Speaking in October, he wrote on Instagram: “For my son, who is seven years old and watches every Wigan game… to be asking his mother, ‘why are they booing and singing that song at Daddy?’ And to have to tip toe around answering him is something which should not be happening.

“This post is not one for sympathy [trust me, it is not wanted] but one of anger. Considering every single year we have an FA representative come into each club to discuss the same old crap they spew to us about discrimination. Every single year, I challenge them on the abuse. Every single year, they do nothing.

“This clip is one [from] yesterday, which can be heard clearly of one particular chant, as well as other chants of ‘f*** the pope and IRA’, being sung by the majority of the 30k crowd, as well as numerous individual chants of ‘fenian b******, fenian c***’, ‘you dirty Irish c***’.

“[This was] while displaying a tribute before game honouring Niall Quinn, who is also the same nationality as myself. Couldn’t make the stupidity up.

“Now, everyone who attended the game would have heard this loud and clear including the referee, match officials and other officials! I should not have to report every single incident when clearly they can all hear what I hear, and they should be doing their job by taking action!

“I would be lying if I was to say I expect anything to be done about this by the FA and EFL [history shows this] but here is another chance sure. And I certainly don’t expect any action to be taken by Sunderland themselves, given they did nothing when I was their player.”

McClean has previously said he would wear the poppy if it only remembered WWI and WWII victims – but as it is a universal symbol for Britain’s defence of freedom, his decision not to wear one is a result of the British Army’s actions in his native Derry in 1972, when 26 unarmed civilians were killed on ‘Bloody Sunday’.

The Royal British Legion, who organise the appeal, has backed James McClean’s decision and insisted his right to a personal choice over the poppy is part of the freedom it celebrates.

When asked about the abuse suffered by McClean, Souness told talkSPORT: “We live in a democracy. If he’s beeing booed at a football game, or things are being sung about him, that’s not nice.

“It’s not nice for his wife or his kid, it is totally wrong that him and his family are being threatened.

“That’s abhorent. But it will just be keyboard warriors and village idiots.

“But you also have to understand that 10,000 Irish soldiers lost their lives in the Second World War – and I think it’s right we remember them.

“You know what side of the fence I’m on. I managed a Protestant institution in Glasgow Rangers and we were royalists.

“Going back a month, there was a small element at several football grounds up and down the country that rejoiced in the death of our Queen. That’s unacceptable.

“There is nothing the FA can do about that, but that happened. So James has to get on with it.

“It is very much his right to choose to go down that road, but I’m afraid this will not go away for him.

“It will be an annual thing he has to take on the chin because he has chosen to go down that road.”

McClean listened and is said to have sent a polite message to Souness via Jim White.

The Irishman said: “Jim, can you tell Mr Souness with regards to his ‘get on with it’ advice – I got on with it for a very long time until it became not just me but my family.

“It is one thing taking abuse, but when your family gets involved, it means a totally different thing.

“I would suggest if he’s not in a position to talk about it as I am, then he doesn’t appreciate the level of abuse I have to endure.”

However, Souness doubled-down and insisted McClean must face the repercussions of his decisions.

“I accept that,” Souness responded. “Once it impacts on your family, it must be very difficult. But this is something he has to deal with.

“This was his choice. Maybe he should go back to when he first made this stance, maybe someone said, ‘This will not just be about you going forward’. And that is the case.”

Twitter users reacted as James McClean responds to comments by Graeme Souness on his poppy stance after getting more boos by fans…

@WFCConor: @talkSPORT but if anyone dares to say their opinion on the queen you force them to delete their twitter and fire them, Racist and xenophobic show

@bobbysands81: So if a black soccer player received racist abuse then Souness would tell them to “get on with it” and @talkSPORT would be ok with this? It’s getting beyond a joke now and the @FAIreland and @FA just sit back and let it happen… and what about @kickitout – pure silence.

@BigAppa48: I use to dislike James McClean due to his stance on this. But as I’ve got older I understand why he doesn’t wear a poppy. That’s his personal belief. He hasn’t backed down from it. Fair play to him. I don’t have to agree with him to understand why he does what he does. 👏

@WFCConor: ““There is nothing the FA can do about that, but that happened. So James has to get on with it.” Basically saying the FA can’t do anything about Xenophobia or racism because its an Irish person.

@withdean62: Souness is a bitter Hun who just insignificant now bowing to his Rangers followers

@ConorJKeenan: Souness stating that “James has to get on with it” when it comes to abuse for him and his family for not wearing a poppy is unacceptable and depressing. What’s more depressing is the replies to the original tweet.

@celticforever9: Because Sounness is a bitter old dragged up DOB. Still living in the dark ages. How that old racist c£&t gets a gig on TV and radio I’ll never know. Vile bastard of a man.

@snidey_bhoy: souness is a fckn muppet.

@PaulGib16540335: Would you be saying that if the abuse was directed at a black player or a Muslim player and that they should ‘just get on with it’. I doubt it, you would have Souness out the door before his feet hit the ground. So why is it ok for an Irish player?

@DamienHarkin3: Didn’t Matic refuse to wear the poppy too? Don’t think he has received the same abuse!

@CWN1967: As for Talksport, it just epitomises everything that is wrong with English society!!! Racist, fascist and horrible! 😡

@cevinkarrolld22: @SkySportsNews any comment on this abuse or will you keep quite as usual 🤷‍♂️ Remember all the crying over the Ireland women’s song 🎶

@MCatterall14: Listened to this on talk sport yesterday and had to turn it off when Souness started going on. Him being in that conversation was ridiculous to begin with. Everyone forgets to mention when Matic refused to wear one for united, he was praised for standing up for what he believe in

@Darragh_H1: How does Souness still have a platform he’s an instigator in sectarianism, is a sexist and a racist.

@ConorMcGrace: Mad how you don’t need to dig that far to see how much anti-Irish bigotry still persists in this country. Replies to this are ridiculous.

@hernon_david: Didn’t think it was possible to hate Souness more than I already did

@Celticway188: Talksport has a full card of Brexit loving racist flag shaggers. Souness fits right in with their kind of guest.

@TheIrishKieran: Sky Sports and British media willignore Graeme Souness comments. It is a shame that his fellow Irish players coward away from callingout the hate, that McClean receives. But the FAI not standing with their own players is a real disgrace… Silence from them, as usual.

@watfordfocus: The irony here is that the people complaining about James McClean not wearing a poppy will also complain about rainbow laces and kneeling for ten seconds. Either allow all emblems/gestures or none of them.

@niallcfc1970: Talksport, the radio station for Sun ‘readers’.

@mairtinmcc: The next time a black pro is abused should be just tell them to get on with it? It’s something you have to deal with? Or does that only apply when your Irish?

@Larkin947: Souness at it again, the man hasn’t a clue what McClean and his family are going through but he should just “get on with it” Good man Graeme why this man is paid to talk is beyond me

@CWN1967: Talksport is an example of Englands enduring racism and hatred of “others”! If they were asked to wear a poppy to commemorate German soldiers who murdered British citizens in the Channel Islands during the war, im sure they would be outraged!Their hypocrisy is mind boggling! 😡

@JP__267: Still find it so crazy that people are shocked *every year* that a guy from Londonderry won’t wear a poppy

@LiamMartlew: @SkySports @kickitout ‘just get on with it’ this is surely not the way you want your pundits to speak when we’re talking about discriminatory and sectarian abuse? Thought football was supposed to be an inclusive game for all isn’t it not?

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