London (AFP) – Republic of Ireland and Stoke winger James McClean was once warned his life could be in danger from a fan carrying a gun, his wife claimed on Monday.
The revelation came after McClean posted on Instagram screengrab of a direct message he had received from a user which read: “Don’t make me set your house on fire and burn everyone inside it.”
McClean’s wife Erin then detailed at length on social media the abuse the couple have had to deal with over the years, including being spat at.
“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 said.
“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.”
McClean has been singled out in the past for sectarian abuse after opting against wearing a remembrance poppy on his matchday shirt in recent years.
The 31-year-old 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 to footballers.
“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.
“So much coverage this past couple weeks about discrimination and the condemnation of it across media outlets, players, ex-players etc which is great to see because it’s wrong and idiots should be held responsible for their actions and words as nobody should be subjected to that.”
Football Association of Ireland chief executive Jonathan Hill issued a statement on Monday in support of McClean, who has also played for Sunderland, Wigan and West Bromwich Albion during his time in England.
“The Football Association of Ireland condemns the latest social media threats aimed at senior Irish international team player James McClean and offers James and his family our full support at this difficult time,” he 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.”