The POC Fund recently met with the Ulster History Circle and political representatives to discuss plans for a "Blue Plaque" in honour of Patrick O'Connell. It is hoped the plaque will be erected at 163 Albert Street, where O'Connell once lived. There will also be an exhibition on Patrick's story in Stormont from April 28th until May 12th.
Follow the story below...
The Patrick O'Connell Memorial Fund are proud to announce that Sue O'Connell's much anticipated book, "The Man Who Saved FC Barcelona", has now been released by Amberley Publishing and goes on sale on Friday, 15th July.
As mentioned previously, the book is a well deserved reward for the many years of research by Sue & Mike O'Connell on the life story of "Don Patricio." The book is currently available through Amberley Publishing and Amazon.co.uk. Thanks to all who have supported the venture in any way.
The Man Who Saved FC Barcelona - Amazon.co.uk
The Man Who Saved FC Barcelona - Amberley Publishing
Born in Dublin in 1887, O'Connell had a successful career with Belfast Celtic before moving to Sheffield Wednesday and then Hull City. But it was his performances for Ireland that attracted the attention of Manchester United and in 1914 they paid £1,000 to buy him from Hull. Three months later the First World War broke out and soon after he was implicated in, though exonerated from, what was arguably the most famous match-fixing football scandal of his generation involving the players of Manchester United and Liverpool. On his retirement from playing he became manager of League side Ashington before walking out on his wife and four children to later 'resurface' in Spain in 1922 as manager of Racing Santander. He then moved to Oviedo before taking over at unfashionable Real Betis, whom he guided to their one and only La Liga title success in 1935. His extraordinary success at Betis brought him to the attention of FC Barcelona and he moved there at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. As the fighting intensified and turmoil engulfed the Catalan club, they lurched to the brink of bankruptcy. At the invitation of a Catalan businessman who had emigrated to Mexico, O'Connell took the team on a tour of Mexico and New York. The funds that were raised from this tour saved Barcelona from going under and ensured O'Connell's lasting legacy. - Amberley Publishing
April 2016 saw one of the primary goals of the POC Fund realised. The grave of Don Patricio (St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Kilburn, London) has been fully restored; a headstone finally bears the name of Patrick O'Connell. The memorial is understated, as the man himself was. There's a sense among those who have studied the life and times of Don Patricio that this modest tribute in stone best exemplifies his character. Details of the official unveiling of the grave will follow in May. For now, we rest assured that the memory of Patrick Joseph O'Connell is finally written in stone.