Wednesday 18 October 2017

Furious customers threaten to close betting accounts after bookmaker calls James McClean a 'hero'

9 October 2017; James McClean of Republic of Ireland celebrates following the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
9 October 2017; James McClean of Republic of Ireland celebrates following the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Evan Bartlett

Furious customers have threatened to close their accounts with an online bookmaker after it tweeted praise of Republic of Ireland midfielder James McClean.

The 28-year-old scored the winner in Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifying victory over Wales on Monday but is a controversial figure with some for his refusal to wear a commemorative poppy for Remembrance Day.

After Bet365 tweeted a photo of McClean with the caption "Not all heroes wear capes" it was inundated with angry replies.

“365 talking s**t, they support a non poppy wearing thug. Be ashamed I will also Close my account,” wrote one.

McClean, who was born in Derry in Northern Ireland but represents the Republic, explained his refusal to wear a poppy, worn by Premier League clubs in the build up to 11 November, in a West Brom match day programme two years ago.

“If the poppy was simply about World War One and Two victims alone, I’d wear it without a problem,” he said.

“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.”

In 2014, McClean was booed off the pitch for not wearing the symbol during Wigan’s 3-1 defeat to Bolton, later defending himself in a letter to his then chairman Dave Whelan.

"For people from the North of Ireland such as myself, and specifically those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different,” he wrote.

"For me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles – and Bloody Sunday especially - as I have in the past been accused of disrespecting the victims of WWI and WWII.

"It would be seen as an act of disrespect to those people; to my people."

McClean was also sent death threats after refusing to wear the poppy while playing for Sunderland in 2012.

Independent News Service

Independent.ie Comments Facility

INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.

We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie


Editor's Choice

Also in Sport