Peter Crouch has recently revealed how his Stoke City teammates really felt about James McClean’s poppy stance.
Republic of Ireland international and Potters player McClean has continued to not wear a poppy symbol on his shirt for Remembrance Day out of respect to the people who were shot by British soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday in 1972. But because of his stance, its created a huge amount of abuse from the stands (most notably against Middlesbrough and QPR), something Crouch became conscious of.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, Crouch said: “He took a hell of a lot of stick. That’s his beliefs and I suppose you’ve got to respect that.
“Being an Englishman myself, obviously, I am happy to wear it and I wear it with pride but people are from different backgrounds.
“People are quick to judge and I think you can’t judge someone if you don’t know their situation. James has got his beliefs and I know we always respected it as players in the dressing room.”
James McClean being abused by QPR fans today. 'They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn't want to be broken.' @JamesMcC_14 #coybig ???????? pic.twitter.com/4nkpkWKeZX
— One Team In Ireland (@1TeaminIreland) March 9, 2019
Crouch was asked if the recent stronger line towards racism might mean tolerance for McClean’s position, he said: “Yeah, perhaps. Like we say, with the racism, I can only go by what I’ve been accustomed to, there has been racism in those countries, Bulgaria being one of them. I saw it at U18 and U21 level.
“It has got to be stamped out, it needs to be addressed. I thought they dealt with it magnificently well.
“Like I say, people have their beliefs. That’s not a belief that should be tolerated at all.
“James McClean’s is an entirely different matter.”
Last year, Stoke released a statement backing his stance and added that he had the “right to follow his own convictions.”
McClean posted a photo of a birthday card he had received filled with vile abuse.
He said: “After we contacted them first, Kick it Out, I got a measly statement because there was a lot of pressure on them, which meant nothing to be honest.
“To put it bluntly, I’m a white Irishman and that doesn’t matter to them. This kind of thing happened to Neil Lennon, didn’t it? He gets abuse about being Irish and nobody does anything. The proof is in the pudding, isn’t it? If you’re a white Irishman, nobody cares.
“To be honest, it’s just water off a duck’s back now. It’s going on the last seven or eight years now.
“The reason I put it up was just to highlight the fact that if I wasn’t a white Irish guy there would have been a bigger uproar. And I was right in doing that because there was still nothing, so I proved my point right. The only reason for putting it up was to highlight out how much of hypocrites they are.
“To be fair, I don’t know what was more shocking, the card or his spelling. Idiots will be idiots, won’t they?”
After reading what Peter Crouch had to say on James McClean’s poppy stance, fans took to give their reaction – see those tweets on the next page.