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Fans' reaction big factor in Shea exit

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Monday 10th March 2014
Brek Shea in action for the USA against Ukraine last Wednesday night.

Brek Shea has returned to parent club Stoke City nine days after swearing at Barnsley's fans, whose reaction is understood to be a deciding factor.


The 24-year-old winger – who failed to impress in eight appearances for the Reds – apologised for the incident, which took place after Barnsley's 5-0 loss at Huddersfield on Saturday March 1, on Twitter on Friday after returning from international duty with the USA.


But Shea was left out of the side for the win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday and has now returned to Stoke three weeks before his loan was due to end on April 4. It is understood that Barnsley cannot terminate the loan and will have to continue paying a share of the player's wages unless he is officially recalled.


Shea was alleged to have stuck his fingers up at Reds fans in Huddersfield after team-mate Stephen Dawson attempted to confront a supporter. Dawson has apologised and played against Forest but the American failed to convince manager Danny Wilson that he should stay at Oakwell.


Before the official announcement on Monday afternoon, Wilson told reporters: "It's about the fans. What happened was unsavoury and we have to make sure that the situation doesn't escalate or effect the team. The fans were fantastic on Saturday and we don't want anything acrimonious.


"It was important to see what reaction we would get fan-wise. No matter what level you play at you will find it difficult, if you insult someone, to turn it round quickly.


"We can't afford to go into a game and have the fans upset with him and not giving him the full support we would expect.



"We put our ear to the ground and listen to fans. We can't have the type of reaction he and Stephen Dawson showed ever again. There were a lot of families in the stand at the time."



Shea, who is set to make a donation to Barnsley Hospice, posted on Twitter: "I would like to unreservedly apologise for what happened at the end of the Huddersfield match last week.


"Although my actions were aimed at one person who was abusing a teammate I realise I should not have reacted in that way in the heat of the moment. I regret those actions and the offence that it has caused. I did not intend to offend the Barnsley fans who have shown tremendous support for the team. The best way I can show this and repay you, the fans, is with my performances on the pitch."