"I find it totally repugnant that certain publicity hungry footballers have tried to cheaply hijack the poppy as part of their transparent and narrow Republican agenda of attacking anything and everything they deem to be 'British.'
"These same footballers are happy to wear the blood-soaked Easter lilly, but they baulk at remembering those of all colours and creeds from around the world who died in warfare so that they could moan.
"No one should ever be forced to wear the poppy or anything else - but neither should they be intimidated into not wearing it, or lambasted for wearing it.
"The mainstream media either through ignorance or through wilfully biased reporting have jumped on this, claiming there is no connection between football and the poppy - and the two should 'be kept separate."
"The poppy is a symbol of remembrance. It is not connected to any one country, religion, race or colour and it's disgraceful for anyone to abuse it in this way."