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James McClean issues statement to Stoke City supporters

The Ireland winger has ‘wholeheartedly’ apologised to the vast majority of the club’s fans — but not those who abused him.

JAMES MCCLEAN HAS ‘wholeheartedly’ apologised to the ‘vast majority’ of Stoke City supporters following his comments on Instagram, but not to the section of fans who abused him during and after last weekend’s game against Middlesbrough.

The Ireland winger, who was warned by the Football Association for his language on social media earlier this week, had been the subject of an internal investigation and has ‘been dealt with under the terms of the club’s disciplinary procedure.’ 

Stoke City v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - bet365 Stadium McClean released a statement via Stoke's website. Source: Anthony Devlin

McClean received abuse from a section of Stoke supporters last Saturday for not wearing a poppy, and the Derry native reacted angrily in an Instagram post, quoting Bobby Sands and describing the fans who abused him as ‘uneducated cavemen.’ 

Stoke manager Gary Rowett yesterday revealed the 62-time capped Ireland international received abusive packages at the club’s training ground in recent days. 

He was handed a slap on the wrist by the FA but avoided further punishment and in a statement released via Stoke’s website this evening, McClean acknowledges he is expected to tolerate such abuse in his status as a professional footballer.

“At last Saturday’s game a section of our supporters threatened and abused me because of my religious beliefs and upbringing,” the statement read.

“I am certain that no fair-minded person would regard that as acceptable but I recognise that as a professional footballer, and therefore a role model, I’m expected to tolerate it.

Whilst, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to apologise to those fans who abused me, I do want to whole-heartedly apologise to the vast majority of Stoke City fans who although they may have different views to myself are decent and respectful.

“I sincerely apologise for any offence that I caused them with my comments and posting on Instagram.”

Stoke are in Championship action against Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon. 

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Ryan Bailey

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