Belfast Telegraph

Footballer James McClean pays for homeless people to stay in hotel

McClean’s father Patrick said he was ‘extremely proud’ of the footballer’s gesture.

Footballer James McClean has paid for a group of homeless people from his home town to stay at a hotel.

The Stoke City and Republic of Ireland winger, 29, covered the cost of four rooms for four nights in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, including the cost of meals, in a gesture his father said made him “extremely proud”.

“It’s such a great thing he’s done,” Patrick McClean told the Press Association.

“James is always checking back home to see what’s going on and if he can help out.”

He is no stranger to acts of kindness.

He previously helped pay the funeral costs of a Derry toddler who was tragically killed, and also trained with the Oxford Bulls, a team of footballers with Down’s syndrome from the city.

Patrick McClean said Derry’s homeless situation was a recent problem which they “don’t want to see getting any worse”.

“Not just footballers but anybody with any influence or with the ability” should help the cause, he added.

“When you look around and see human beings lying on street corners in this day and age, it’s shocking and unacceptable,” he said.

“It’s inhumane and people need to step up and say we don’t want it in our society.

“James can’t sort this problem on his own but what he wants is to highlight the problem and encourage anybody that can help to please step forward and do it.”

James McClean paid for the rooms from Sunday through to Wednesday night and four people accepted the offer to stay, after the McClean family searched the city centre for those in need.

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(Yui Mok/PA)

Asked if he found it frustrating that many headlines about James McClean were focused on his objection to wearing a Remembrance Day poppy, Patrick McClean said: “No, at the minute we’re just focused on James because this is who James is.

“James is always looking to help those who are vulnerable or in need of help and he’ll always step up to the mark.”

He chooses not to wear the poppy due to events in Derry during the Troubles.

He was brought up on the Creggan estate, which was also the home of six of the people killed on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

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