Stoke City fan group addresses James McClean poppy statement
Stoke City fanzine The Oatcake have offered their support to Republic of Ireland winger James McClean over his refusal to wear the poppy.
McClean will not wear the remembrance poppy for Stoke City next month due to his belief that the symbol commemorates British military personnel who have died in war and not just soldiers who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.
McClean clarified his stance in a statement issued on Tuesday.
"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."
The Oatcake came out in support of McClean with a lengthy statement encouraging the club's supporters to try and understand his perspective and respect other people's opinions.
— The Oatcake Fanzine (@oatcakescfc) October 30, 2018
Stoke City are also respecting his decision to follow his own convictions on the matter.
"As a Club we will be supporting the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal by wearing the Poppy on our home shirt in the fixture against Middlesbrough on November 3rd and on our away shirt in the fixture against Nottingham Forest on November 10th. 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 (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."