Police are investigating death threats directed at Sunderland and Ireland winger James McClean on Twitter from a man claiming to be a former British soldier.
McClean was criticised for refusing to wear a Remembrance Sunday poppy on his shirt during Sunderland's 2-1 defeat at Everton last weekend, although the club have insisted they were happy to let the 23-year-old from Derry make a personal choice.
Cody Lachey, a 29-year-old doorman from Manchester, who claimed to have served in the army, posted images of bullets on the player's Twitter timeline and although he has denied he intends to carry out any sort of attack, he has refused to tone down his criticism.
Lachey even sent one of his threats directly to Sinn Fein newspaper 'An Phoblacht', saying "he deserves to be shot dead and (his) body dragged past the Cenotaph".
Lachey later withdrew his threat.
"I wanted him dead," Lachey was reported as saying by the 'Derry Journal'. "But there's no threat from me to James McClean now, although I can't be held responsible for what other people may do. I think he's a f***ing disgrace."
His Twitter account has since been suspended, but Sunderland confirmed police are looking into the matter.
McClean was introduced by manager Martin O'Neill as a second-half substitute in yesterday's 3-1 win at Fulham and received a mixed response from the travelling Sunderland supporters, with several of them venting their frustration at the stance he took last weekend.
Following the victory, O'Neill backed McClean to cope with a few jeers.
"James will deal with it (the booing). I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world," he said. "James has lived with a lot of things – he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help." (© Daily Telegraph, London)