[AMERICANS ABROAD] Brek Shea's English career has reached a new low as Barnsley, 23rd out of 24 teams in the League Championship, has ended his loan spell prematurely after being involved in what its manager, Danny Wilson, described as an "unsavory" incident with club fans on March 1.
Shea joined Stoke City in January 2013 but injuries and poor form limited him to three EPL appearances in two seasons with the Potters. He was loaned to Barnsley in January. The second of two loan spells wasn't set to expire until April 3, but the club issued a statement on Monday that Shea was returning to Stoke.
The incident in question took place after a 5-0 loss at archrival Huddersfield dropped Barnsley temporarily into last place in English soccer's second division. Midfielder Stephen Dawson became involved in an argument with a group of Barnsley fans. Shea came over to support Dawson and is alleged to have made an obscene gesture at a fan.
On Friday, Shea apologized for his actions via twitter:
“I would like to unreservedly apologize 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 realize I should not have reacted in that way in the heat of the moment. I regret those actions and the offense 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.”
Unfortunately, he won't get that chance as the apology was not enough to keep his place in the Barnsley squad. He was absent from Saturday's 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest and sent packing on Monday.
"It's about the fans," Barnsley manager Danny Wilson told reporters Monday. "What happened was unsavory 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."
This wasn't the first time Shea was involved in trouble.
At the end of last season, he posted on Instagram a picture of a severed pig’s head involved in a season-ending prank in Stoke City’s locker room that turned out badly when Kenwyne Jones, furious about having the pig's head placed in his locker, through a brick through teammate Glenn Whelan’s car window.
In July, Shea had to apologize after -- again on Instagram -- he posted a picture of himself brandishing two shotguns.
Despite his limited role at Stoke and Barnsley, where he leaves after making eight appearances, he was recalled for the USA's game against Ukraine, coming on in the second half.
He had stayed with the USA during the Gold Cup and ended up scoring the winning goal in the final.