'When I Go To Ibrox Or Tynecastle, You're Getting Called A Fenian Such And Such'

'When I Go To Ibrox Or Tynecastle, You're Getting Called A Fenian Such And Such'

Niall McGinn believes that greater support needs to be provided to footballers who receive abuse on the pitch and off it.

Earlier this week, James McClean said that not enough has been done to hold accountable those who have abused him through the years.

Like McClean, McGinn comes from a Catholic background. The Tyrone native has 60 caps for Northern Ireland. He currently plays for Aberdeen and spent three years with Celtic between 2009 and 2012.

While at Celtic, McGinn was sent bullets in the post. It was discovered that those bullets came from Northern Ireland.

"Looking back to my time at Celtic, myself, Neil Lennon and Paddy McCourt, we had bullets sent to us in the post," the 32-year-old told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback.

"It wasn't only hard for me but it was hard for my family. Neil Lennon, he came to my room and told me the night before it was published that there was going to be a newspaper article coming out about us being sent bullets. [He said], 'Just make sure you let your family know'.

"The last thing I wanted was my Mum opening up the newspaper on a Sunday morning and seeing her son was being threatened by bullets.


"The club were always supportive. They'd been through different situations with different players.

"It's not nice to hear or say, but it sort of comes with the job. It does seem the norm that you're sort of entitled to get abuse, and that shouldn't be the case.

"Even now, being at Aberdeen, when I go to Ibrox or Tynecastle, you're getting called names, you're getting abuse if you're on the sideline. It's abuse all the time. It is only from a small minority. You're getting called a Fenian such and such, a Fenian whatever and it is hard to take at times.

"My Mum is a first cousin to one of the hunger strikers, Martin Hurson. You have different songs that'd be sung at different games regarding the hunger strikers and that can be quite hurtful."

McGinn said that abuse he has received while playing for Northern Ireland has come from a small minority. He also added that personal information, like a passport number, should be required before someone can set up a social media account.

"I definitely feel there is an area there for an association to get up and going, for a footballer to be able to pick up the phone and have somebody to speak to.

"In James' situation, he obviously needs people to go and speak to and he needs people to hear him."

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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