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Huddersfield Town investigating sectarian abuse directed at James McClean

The club’s game against Stoke City was paused momentarily after the Ireland winger reported the abuse.

James McClean pictured during Stoke City's 5-2 win against Huddersfield Town in the Championship yesterday.
James McClean pictured during Stoke City's 5-2 win against Huddersfield Town in the Championship yesterday.
Image: Richard Sellers

ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB Huddersfield Town are investigating after sectarian abuse was directed at James McClean.

The Republic of Ireland winger was the victim of discriminatory chants from sections of the crowd while playing for Stoke City in a 5-2 win at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium.

Yesterday’s game was paused momentarily in the second half when McClean, a 30-year-old native of Derry, reported the abuse to referee James Linington.

After Linington spoke to both managers, the PA warned fans that ”offensive behaviour is affecting the game and will not be tolerated” — an announcement which McClean applauded.

“James McClean is being encouraged to report abuse that he receives that’s of a sectarian nature to the match official,” Stoke City’s head of media and communications Fraser Nicholson explained after the game.

“He did it on [St Stephen's Day] when he was subjected to it by Sheffield Wednesday fans and obviously felt the need to do it again.”

McClean, who has played in England since leaving Derry City to join Sunderland in 2011, is regularly targeted with sectarian abuse, often due to his refusal to wear a poppy.

“People have to be held accountable for their behaviour when they come to a stadium,” said Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill.

“It’s not something we want to be consistently talking about — sectarianism or racism or whatever. We want to be talking about the game because there was seven goals here.”

Huddersfield Town boss Danny Cowley added: “There’s no place for discrimination in 2020. I know the club will think exactly the same and we will investigate the situation and make sure the people involved in it are duly punished — and so they should be — because any type of discrimination to me is unacceptable.”

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Paul Dollery

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