FA investigates abuse of James McClean by fans
The Football Association is investigating an allegation of "discriminatory behaviour" directed at Republic of Ireland winger James McClean during Stoke's clash against Barnsley on Saturday.
McClean, who lined up for Stoke in their Sky Bet Championship encounter, was a target for a section of fans at Oakwell as he continued his stance of opting against wearing a poppy on his shirt ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
The Derry man has been unwavering in his position since moving to England in 2011 and explained his reasoning in an open letter to fans in 2014 during his time with Wigan.
McClean insisted that he would have worn a poppy if it was used solely to pay tribute to those killed in the the First and Second World Wars, as opposed to all conflicts involving British and Commonwealth servicemen and women.
The Derry native spent his formative years living in the city’s Creggan estate, where six of those killed in Bloody Sunday in 1972 also hailed from.
The Stoke Sentinel reported that anti-IRA and anti-Pope songs were clearly audible at Barnsley’s ground, with referee Jeremy Simpson reporting the matter to the FA.
McClean accused the FA of turning a "blind eye" to the abuse he had received from fans over several years in an Instagram post last season.
"If it was a person's skin colour or if it was anti-Muslim, someone's gender, there would be an uproar and it would be taken in a completely different way and dealt with in a different manner," he wrote.
"But like in Neil Lennon's case in Scotland, because we are Irish Catholics, they turn a blind eye and nothing is ever said and done."
Barnsley fans may have regretted targeting McClean as he shone in Michael O’Neill’s first game in charge of the Potters, winning a penalty which Lee Gregory converted en route to a 4-2 victory.