O’Neill backs McClean as police investigate death threats

Martin O’Neill has defended James McClean from more criticism for his refusal to wear a poppy last week, as well as an oddly withdrawn death threat from a former British soldier.

McClean came on after 70 minutes of Sunderland’s 3-1 win at Fulham yesterday and was subjected to isolated boos around Craven Cottage. That only followed a bizarre incident earlier in the day when 29-year-old Mancunian Codey Lachey said there was “no threat” from him despite posting images of 5.6mm bullets on the winger’s twitter timeline.

O’Neill, however, backed McClean to come through it all as well as defending his right to choose.

“James will deal with it. I think [the booing] is probably to do with the issue of last week,” he said. “It’s a free choice in this world.

“James has lived with a lot of things. He’s getting death threats as well now so that doesn’t help.”

It is understood O’Neill was referring to Lachey’s tweets, which police are investigating.

Lachey, however, was quoted in yesterday’s Derry Journal: “I wanted him dead. But there’s no threat from me to James McClean now, although I can’t be held responsible for what other people may do.”

Lachey, who described himself on twitter as a “6ft 3 ex army lad” sent a threat against McClean to Sinn Féin newspaper, An Phoblacht.

“Too right he deserves to be shot dead,” Lachey had written, “+ body dragged past the cenotaph!

“I think he’s a f***ing disgrace. I know I’ll end up in trouble and maybe in prison over this but I’m willing to go to court, that’s how strongly I feel.”

Further criticism for McClean came from Northern Ireland international Warren Feeney, who wrote in the Sunday Life that he “cringed” when he heard about the poppy episode.

“He’s becoming better known for his behaviour off the pitch than for his considerable skills on it,” Feeney wrote.

“It’s a pity because he’s obviously a talented player. At the same time, it makes me glad he elected to play for the Republic and not us... [McClean’s decision] was an anti-British gesture, yet here he is making a very good living from playing in the Premier League in Britain. His action was a snub to the memory of brave men and women, his club and its fans who pay his wages.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

More in this Section

Journeymen Leicester turn from zeroes to heroes

Bridge of sighs for Tottenham as Leicester title fairytale complete

Diego Simeone: Atletico Madrid ready to attack in Munich

Sam Vokes living the dream as Burnley are moving on up


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Jamie Vardy lookalike invited to join the team party

Somehow strives to earn Aidan O'Brien Oaks call-up at Chester

Bournemouth fined £7.6million for breaching Financial Fair Play rules

5 facts that prove rowing is the most interesting sport at the Olympics

Lifestyle

Beware of pitfalls when you are building a house

Darren Killen is causing quite a stir online

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor gets caught up in his many characters

Autism assistance dog is a real pal

More From The Irish Examiner