Stoke City backs James McClean’s refusal to wear poppy

Stoke City has invited members of the armed forces to attend its upcoming remembrance events, after the club backed James McClean’s decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt this year.

The 29-year-old from Londonderry has said he will not wear a poppy for forthcoming games against Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest. The Republic of Ireland player did the same at his previous Premier League clubs.

Republic of Ireland and Stoke City player James McClean

Republic of Ireland and Stoke City player James McClean

He said he knew many people would not agree with his decision, but asked for it to be respected..

“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,” McClean added.

Stoke City said its other players will be supporting the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal by wearing the poppy on their home shirts in the fixture against Middlesbrough on November 3, and on their away shirts in the fixture against Nottingham Forest on November 10.

A statement from the club added: “The club is proud of its close connections with the armed forces and have also invited members of the armed forces to join our remembrance at the Middlesbrough fixture.

“However, we recognise that the poppy means different things to different individuals and communities and 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.”