James McClean: the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and a festering row

Jake adapts Tony Roffe's photographic magic to humour Salut! Sunderland

There is a good little debate in progress at this site on the rights, as I see it, and wrongs, as supporters of the Northern Ireland team have argued, of James McClean choosing to play senior international football for the Republic of Ireland.

The original article can be seen at this link: https://safc.blog/2012/06/shades-of-green-northern-ireland-should-respect-mccleans-republic-of-ireland-choice/

I have repeated the link above because of technical problems with that posting. The comments field will therefore be closed for this article, so please go to the original if you have thoughts you wish to share for or against what I or others (including the former NO international Keith Gillespie) have said.

Here, though, is the debate so far:

Goldy …

The only thing Keith Gillespie should be using mass media as communication for is to advise youngsters how to avoid heavy gambling and alcohol addiction, resulting in you disappearing off the face of the top flight footballing earth by your mid-twenties.

Even Alan Shearer, old Mary Poppins himseflf, managed to get wound up enough by this fella to inflict physical damage on him.

Convenient how he omitted Neil Lennon from the list. As much as I dislike Lennon, he was driven from International football due to sectarian themed abuse. I find it hard to believe Lennon and O’Neill wouldn’t have played for the southern version of Ireland if the rules allowing you to do so were in place at the time.

salutsunderland …

In fairness, the full Belfast Telegraph article (mentioned in the original piece) did cover Lennon, including a Gillespie quote on the affair.

keith hutton africa …

Was McClean acting correctly when he attended the Northern Irish youth camps and training programmes that made him the player he is. I would not deny his right to play for the nation of his heart but he does not have the moral high ground. He denied some other youngster an opportunity to develop and play for NI when he had no intention of doing so. Never bite the hand that feeds you, or walk away from the nation that made you who you are.He could have made a difference to the Land of his birth if he had the courage to try.

Goldy …

Ahhh damn!!! I read this yesterday online somewhere else. Schoolboy error!! Stand by the rest

David Millar …

Are you serious? So your saying because McLean is catholic he has a choice of two countries? and rather than pick his country of birth he chose to play for a country that he has nothing to do with? ok if a Arab born in Iraq and is a christian he can choose to play for say….England? that is totally out of order…religon should not dictate a sport…..I go to all Northern Ireland home games and I have yet to hear any secterian chants or slander!! I have even seen sammy cligan a guy from the falls road cross himself in the centre circle before a game and not a word was said!! It is obviously McLean who has the problem and cant let a past that he is to young to remember to be put behind him. Alot of people have moved on from all this stupid stuff and now living there lives without it but some people cant let it go thats true!! and McLean is one of them…..and this goes for the small minority on both sides!! but FIFA have given the FAI the advantage of being able to pick players from two countries without question….is that fair? one thinks not

salutsunderland …

Oddly enough, young footballers in England and France have been making similar choices for years without causing such polemic (except from the unthinking right). Yes people should move on from past misery and anger but it is simply unrealistic to expect people who, rightly or wrongly, believe fervently in Irish nationalism to embrace national representation for what they consider the Six Counties/N of Ireland etc. If Ulster suddenly became part of the RoI, I’ll bet there’d be plenty of Protestant lads who’d opt to play for England or, more likely for at least two reasons, Scotland

There have also been some responses at DerryCityChat, fan site for the club McClean played for before coming to Sunderland. You may need to register but see it here: http://derrycitychat.com/forum/

Monsieur Salut, by Matt
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