James McClean was subjected to a torrent of abuse as he walked off the pitch following Stoke's goalless draw at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The reason was not a novel one. As usual at this time of year, clubs wear the Remembrance Day poppy on their shirt. McClean chooses to not do so on his.
Yesterday's game was the first of two in which Stoke City will wear the poppy. In a statement released during the week, the club said that it respects McClean's decision to not wear one on his shirt.
That same respect was not forthcoming from a group of fans on Saturday. McClean had come off the bench with just under ten minutes of the game remaining.
On Saturday evening, the 29-year-old posted on Instagram regarding the abuse he had received. Quoting Bobby Sands, he was defiant.
“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken.”
Your abuse, your throwing things, your booing, do your worst.. to the home fans that are actually educated and support me, thank yous.. to the section of uneducated cavemen in left hand corner of the boothen end stand that want to song their anti irish song each game and call me a fenian this and that.. i am a PROUD FENIAN no [email protected]#t will ever change that, so sing away.
McClean has previously articulated his reasons for not wearing the poppy.
"If the poppy was simply about World War One and Two victims alone, I’d wear it without a problem," he explained in 2015.
"I would wear it every day of the year if that was the thing but it doesn’t it stands for all conflicts that Britain has been involved in. Because of the history of where I come from in Derry, I cannot wear something that represents that."