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.
We stand with James McClean and his family.
There is 𝗡𝗢 room for discrimination of 𝗔𝗡𝗬 form.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) February 16, 2021
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.”
The Football Association of Ireland issued a statement on Monday offering its support to McClean and his family and also condemned the abuse.
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. To abuse or threaten James or any player because of his nationality should not be tolerated by society. Unfortunately, such behaviour is all too common now on social media.
“Only last week we commended the stance taken by English football against the abuse of footballers across all social media channels and we are examining how best we can take a similar stance.”
FAI offers James McClean support over social media threats
The association will assist James in anyway possible following the latest threats
➡️ https://t.co/EVzQXpXUDH#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/svInc2yrPo
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) February 15, 2021
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.
She added: “Of course we have tried as hard as possible to keep them away from it all but there has been times we are out shopping and there is people making remarks towards James in front of the kids.
“We can take the name calling and the rest but what we cannot accept is threatening our family home and our children’s lives. They don’t deserve this.
“Why after nine years of constant abuse should we be OK and have to accept receiving these threats constantly?”
McClean has been singled out in the past for sectarian abuse after opting against wearing a poppy on his matchday shirt in recent years.
He followed up his message sharing the latest abuse by calling for more to be done to prevent such attacks, with social media companies currently under pressure to take sterner action against those posting threats.
“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.
“I have highlighted the abuse publicly on social media recently and the silence from everyone is deafening! If you are offended by me saying that then maybe that tells you something.”