'Not now or ever will I wear poppy' – James McClean

Ireland star James McClean has doubled down on his decision to not wear a poppy to commemorate Remembrance Day this weekend.

The Derry man won’t be wearing a poppy during Stoke City’s match with Middlesbrough and said while he knew “many people won’t agree” with his decision, he asked they respect his choice.

In a statement posted to social media, the 29-year-old reaffirmed his stance and insisted he would never wear a poppy on his jersey.

“I am more bored of this every year than anyone. I have explained more times than I would have liked to or should have to.

“I will not now or not ever participate in wearing a poppy,” he wrote.

“I feel I have again explained myself enough. Lastly, as I have done and continue to do, (I) will go about the matter respectfully as I respect everyone’s right to live their life.

“Each to their own. The last words I will ever say on this matter.”

Ireland great Paul McGrath weighed in on the matter, explaining that he would personally wear a poppy but feels McClean’s decision should be respected.

“I think it’s James’s decision. It’s as simple as that. I would wear one, but I respect whatever decision he makes,” he told the Irish Independent.

Stoke City also said in a statement that they respect McClean’s decision.

“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.”

McClean has not worn the poppy as a gesture of respect to the 13 civilians who died in Derry during Bloody Sunday in 1972.

McClean has previously said: “If the poppy was simply about World War I and II victims alone, I’d wear it without a problem.

“I would wear it every day of the year if that was the thing, but it doesn’t. It stands for all conflicts that Britain has been involved in.

“Because of the history of where I come from in Derry, I cannot wear something that represents that.”

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