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James McClean Reveals The Two Appalling Incidents With Sunderland Fans Which Led To His Leaving The Club

James McClean Reveals The Two Appalling Incidents With Sunderland Fans Which Led To His Leaving The Club
By Gavin Cooney Updated

James McClean today gave a lengthy, and brutally honest, interview to BBC's Football Focus in which he covered his career to date. Naturally, McClean addressed his Premier League career, now safely ensconced in mid-table comfort with West Brom as his old club Sunderland slide toward the Championship.

McClean's relationship with Sunderland fans utterly broke down over his refusal to wear a poppy on his shirt around Remembrance Day in 2012. McClean went on to explain clearly his reason for not wearing it at Wigan,  via a public letter. In the letter, McClean wrote that he could not honour all of the British soldiers who have been killed, as that would be disrespectful to those who died on Bloody Sunday in Derry.

...for me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles – and Bloody Sunday especially - as I have in the past been accused of disrespecting the victims of WWI and WWII.

It would be seen as an act of disrespect to those people; to my people.

Deprived of the opportunity to do this at Sunderland, McClean believed he has been "hung out to dry by the press people at Sunderland". Relations broke down to a remarkable extent, and McClean revealed two incidents in one day which forced him to leave the club. Having explained that his form had been disrupted by the loss of support by his own fans, McClean gave detail of the day he knew it had gone too far:

I was coming back from one of the last games of the season, and like I usually do, I always take my home jersey home, because you never know who needs one or will ask for one. I gave it to a kid outside the stadium, and his father took it off him and threw it back at me. And then, on the way home, my car was stopped at traffic lights. So my car's here, and there's another car there [beside him]. The guy rolled down the window, and he spat at me, and drove off.

My missus was in the car with me, and she was pregnant at the time. I was thinking, 'I'm about to bring a baby into the world, I don't need all this hassle'. I went to see Paolo [Di Canio] the next day, and said 'look, I think it's time I moved on', and I explained the situation.

McClean also said that he is a stronger person, having gone through what he did at the Stadium of Light.

See Also: Harry Arter Opens Up In Outstanding & Important Interview For Premier League World

 

 

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