A film is about to hit the big screen on what has been described as the greatest Irish football story you never heard. It documents a man who left Ireland following scandal to become a legend in Spanish football after saving Barcelona from extinction.
Patrick O’Connell, who managed several La Liga clubs, was the first Irishman to captain Manchester United. That was before he moved to Spain and became manager of Real Betis where he delivered their one and only league title in 1935, which saw him land the Barcelona job the following season.
It is O’Connell who is credited with saving Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War by taking the squad away from Catalonia to North America, raising funds along the way.
The Dublin born Irishman became known as Don Patricio was regarded as a womaniser and a bigamist.
Despite his success story he ended up dying destitute in London in 1959.
The film, titled Don Patricio, features interviews from an array of footballing personalities, including Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, who admits to previously being unaware of O’Connell’s thrilling story.
Don Patricio was made in conjunction with the Patrick O’Connell Fund and is premiering on May 14th in Dublin. More information can be found on Twitter via @PatricioFund.
See the trailer below:
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