James McClean will not be wearing a poppy for upcoming Stoke fixtures

James McClean in action for Stoke City against Leeds United. Picture by PA
Andy Hampson

James McClean has confirmed he will not wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt for Stoke's upcoming games against Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest.

The Republic of Ireland international, who joined Stoke in the summer, took the same decision at previous clubs Sunderland, Wigan and West Brom.

The 29-year-old is a native of Derry, Northern Ireland, site of Bloody Sunday in 1972 where 13 people were shot dead by members of the British Army Parachute Regiment who opened fire on civil rights demonstrators. A fourteenth person injured on the day died later. 

McClean said in a statement issued by the club: "I know many people won't agree with my decision or even attempt to gain an understanding of why I don't wear a poppy.

"I accept that but I would ask people to be respectful of the choice I have made, just as I'm respectful of people who do choose to wear a poppy."

Stoke host Boro in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday and travel to Forest the following weekend. The statement added that other players would be wearing poppies on shirts at both fixtures.

It continued: "However, we recognise that the poppy means different things to different individuals and communities and (like the Royal British Legion) do not believe that anybody should be forced or even pressured to wear the poppy against their free will.

"James has informed us that he will not be wearing a Remembrance Day poppy in our next two games. We respect his decision and his right to follow his own convictions."

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