Exhibition and film to launch on Dubliner who saved Barcelona

Patrick O’Connell also captained Man United in a glittering career which ended in sadness

Patrick O’Connell (centre) managed Real Betis to their sole league title but his success received little coverage in Ireland and the UK

Patrick O’Connell (centre) managed Real Betis to their sole league title but his success received little coverage in Ireland and the UK

 

An exhibition and a film are to be launched over the next few months on the life and times of Dubliner Patrick O’Connell, the former Manchester United captain and Real Betis and Barcelona manager.

The Patrick O’Connell Memorial Fund have been working for years on getting the recognition the Dubliner deserved after he died penniless and in an unmarked grave in London, despite his illustrious career.

O’Connell was the first Irishman to captain Manchester United in 1915, while also leading Ireland to British Home Championship in 1914, the country’s first football title.

As a manager he is the only Irish manager to win La Liga in Spain managing Real Betis in 1935 to their one and only La Liga title.

Following this success he managed FC Barcelona for five years and is attributed with saving the club from financial ruin during the Spanish Civil war by taking them on a journey to Mexico and New York playing exhibition matches, while raising $12,900.

O’Connell died destitute in 1959 in London and lay in an unmarked grave until sufficient money was raised to give him a memorial.

From Friday, November 10th an 11 panel exhibition will open in Pearse Street Library with items on display including donations from Barcelona and Real Betis, as well as Michael Walker’s column for The Irish Times when he visited O’Connell’s unmarked grave.

In February 2018 the film ‘Don Patricio’ will launch, giving a cinematic account of O’Connell’s life.

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