Stoke support James McClean and will help bring social media abusers to justice

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Stoke have condemned the online abuse of Republic of Ireland winger James McClean and said they “will continue to work with the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice”.

McClean and his wife have revealed the full extent of the abuse they have been subjected to down the years in separate posts on social media.

The abuse includes threats to set their house on fire “and burn everyone inside it”, while Erin McClean said she watched one match in fear after someone threatened to take a gun to the game.

A Stoke statement read: “Stoke City strongly condemn the vile anti-social abuse James McClean and his family very sadly continue to find themselves subject to.

“The club wish to reiterate their continued support for James, his wife Erin and their family.

“There is no place in society for discriminatory behaviour in any form and we believe anyone who thinks it acceptable to subject people to such abuse should be held accountable for their actions.

“We will continue to work with the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill said: “The Association has reached out to James in light of this most recent incident and assured him that the FAI will assist him in any way it can.”

Hill added: “The FAI remains committed to safeguarding all of our players against any form of abuse on any social media platform.”

McClean, 31, posted a screengrab of a direct message he had received on Instagram from a user which read: “Don’t make me set your house on fire and burn everyone inside it.”

Erin revealed the abuse including being spat at and shouted at, and said: “I even remember once someone threatened him saying they were taking a gun with them to a certain match and I can still remember watching that match in absolute fear on the TV.”

She added: “There isn’t a day that goes by that either one of us don’t receive a message of some sort, whether it be a threat, or else telling us to get the f*** out of England.”

Erin said she was speaking out, “after nine years of constant abuse”, as the couple’s three children were now at an age where they understood what was being said.

McClean has been singled out in the past for sectarian abuse after opting against wearing a poppy on his matchday shirt in recent years.

Stoke City v Reading – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
James McClean’s wife says not a day goes by when they don’t receive abuse (Nigel French/PA)

“Banging my head against a brick wall here but look I have been doing that anyways for a long time so one more won’t make a difference,” he wrote.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who has been subject to sectarian abuse throughout his career, said the authorities and social media platforms should have done more to tackle the problem a long time ago.

“I’m fed up of talking about it now because nothing gets done,” Lennon said before his side’s home game against Aberdeen on Wednesday.

The former Northern Ireland international added: “I’ve been through it myself and it’s a lonely place and I hope he gets the right support.

“It’s alright people putting out statements saying ‘we’re going to support him’ – do it, show it.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno told Sky Sports on Monday that he no longer participates on social media after he was once told to copy Robert Enke, the former Germany goalkeeper who committed suicide in 2009.

“There are so many stupid people on social media, I no longer read it,” he said.

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