Stoke City insist ‘perpetrators should be held accountable’ in show of support for McClean

STOKE CITY HAVE reiterated their support for James McClean as the Republic of Ireland international continues to contend with sectarian abuse.

Last week, the Football Association charged Barnsley for failing to ensure that their fans “conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from using abusive and/or insulting words” during the Championship game between the clubs in November.

On New Year’s Day, the fixture between Huddersfield Town and Stoke City had to be paused momentarily when McClean reported abuse to the referee. Fans were then warned that “offensive behaviour is affecting the game and will not be tolerated” by a tannoy announcement.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Stoke City urged supporters to report incidents of “discriminatory or abusive chanting” while expressing their support for the 30-year-old winger.

“At recent fixtures, opposition fans have sadly targeted James McClean with vile anti-social chanting leading to the FA issuing charges against one club,” the statement reads.

“Stoke City wish to reiterate their continued support for James. We believe the chanting to be discriminatory and, like any other hate crime, there is no place for it in society and the perpetrators should be held accountable.

“As a club, we have always supported James and will continue to do so.” 

Since taking his career to England in 2011, the former Derry City player has regularly been targeted with sectarian abuse due to his refusal to wear a poppy.

McClean, who signed for Stoke City from West Bromwich Albion two years ago, said: “I appreciate the backing the club have given me since I joined in 2018 and it’s reassuring to know that support remains.” 

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