This Years Annual Poppy Fuss

Another year, then, brings another fuss about wearing poppies. This is perhaps unsurprising, when we consider modern professional footballs propensity towards being able to start a fight in an empty room when combined with the increasing hysteria that seems to manifest itself around this time every year. This time, in Premier League terms, the target of the tabloids has been James McClean, the Derry-born Sunderland winger who plays his international football for the Republic of Ireland, who opted not to wear a poppy on his shirt during Saturdays match at Goodison Park against Everton. The Mail on Sunday opted to describe McClean as “Controversial Sunderland winger James McClean” before stating that “Sunderland have distanced themselves from McClean’s decision.” The Sun, meanwhile, opted for a slightly different tack, describing his decision not to wear one as a “poppy snub” and highlighting the fact that “other players, including Everton rival Seamus Coleman, from Donegal” had worn a poppy on his shirt. Interestingly enough, The Sun may even have even hit upon the crux of this particular storm in a teacup whilst trying to suggest the exact opposite. As a Derry-born footballer who has chosen to represent the Republic of Ireland, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hazard a guess as to what McCleans reasons were behind his decision not to wear a poppy last weekend. As it should be in any democracy,...

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