'I'm a white Irishman... That's not high on the agenda in England' 3 weeks ago

'I'm a white Irishman... That's not high on the agenda in England'

James McClean is disgusted at the English FA for what sees as double standards and their failure to properly address a problem unless it is highlighted in the media.

Back in November, in the middle of another elongated period of poppy-wearing, James McClean was targeted for some particularly vile abuse by a section of the Middlesbrough crowd, during a Championship game with stoke.

McClean, a Derry native and someone who has clearly stated his personal opposition to wearing the symbolic poppy, took in a grim scene of fans trying to get onto the pitch to confront him only to be held back by match stewards and police.

In the aftermath of that match, McClean commented on social media that those abusing him were 'uneducated cavemen' and he was duly reprimanded by the Football Association.

Early last month McClean opted to share some of the vile correspondence he regularly receives. One tasteless rejoinder (from the card below) read: 'They should have put the Waffen SS in Ireland. They would have used scorched earth tactics not like British politicians licking IRA arses.'

Kick It Out, in England, released a statement soon after that condemned the abuse that McClean had received. The Ireland international sees Raheem Sterling win awards (from BT) and praise from the wider community for highlighting racist abuse and ponders, aloud, why shining a light on anti-Irish hatred gets nothing more than tokenism.

To McClean, both forms of abuse are wrong and should be confronted in the same manner.

On Friday, McClean told reporters at a 'Soccer Sisters' event at the Aviva Stadium:

"The only reason I highlighted (the abuse) was to prove a point and I proved it right - that Kick It Out and the FA are a bunch of hypocrites, a bunch of cowards."

He added, "What Sterling got is nothing compared to what I've got for the past seven or eight years. And there hasn't been a peep, a single word or contact. I got a token gesture from Kick It Out after people highlighted it and went after them.

"Nothing will ever be done. I'm a white Irishman, to put it bluntly. That's not high on the agenda in England."

The 30-year-old says he does get a lot of support from players, in private, about being so forthright with his views but few are willing to back him in public.

He gets it, he says. He understands why it makes for an easier life to keep one's head down. That's just not him.