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From Rochdale to Barcelona
Friday, 8th Apr 2016 08:39 by Col

We received an email on Thursday regarding what must be the Rochdale player to go on to manage Barcelona.

Patrick O'Connell played for the club between 1916 and 1919, making 85 appearances for the club and he was called up to play for Ireland during that time. Here's the email:

Patrick O'Connell was a former Irish footballer from Dublin in Ireland. He began as a professional for Belfast Celtic F.C. in Ireland.

In England he was captain of Man Utd in 1915 he broke the British Transfer Record for an Irishman moving for over £1,000 an astronomical fee at the time in 1914. Patrick also played for Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City football clubs. Mr. O'Connell captained Ireland to their first football title the British Home Championship in 1914.

We believe Patrick guested for Rochdale F.C. when they played in the Lancashire Combination league during WW1. Patrick was still a United player a club he stayed with until 1919 but professional football was suspended.

Would somebody be able to confirm? Our group are working with film producer Michael Andersen on a documentary on Patrick's life.

In Spain Patrick managed Racing Santander between 1923 and 1928 winning five regional titles in five years. In 1928 Patrick and Racing Santander were founding members of La Liga. Now one of the biggest leagues in European football.

Mr. O'Connell is the only man in Spanish football history to win La Liga the second and third division titles. Patrick managed Real Betis FC to La Liga in 1934/35 and the second division title in 1932. Real Betis FC have never won La Liga since.

In season 1935/36 Patrick became FC Barcelona manager. During the Spanish Civil War FC Barcelona President Josep Sunyol was assassinated and General Franco froze the clubs bank accounts. In 1937 Patrick and FC Barcelona toured the Americas raising 12,900usd the monies were wired to an account in Paris. These monies ultimately saved FC Barcelona from financial ruin and Patrick is attributed as a saviour in Barcelona.
He stayed at the club until 1940.

Patrick was honoured by Josep Maria Bartomeau President of FCB at Camp Nou on Dec 30th 2015 and inducted into the Camp Nou Hall of fame/museum.

Patrick died destitute in London in 1959 and is buried in an unmarked grave at St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green for 57 years. The Patrick O'Connell Memorial Fund was founded by a small group(4 in total) of like minded football fans to raise funds to give Patrick a proper memorial.

Mr. O'Connell was also a PFA member in England the project has been supported by Gordon Taylor,Martin Buchan and Colin Hill of the PFA.

For further details about our fund please see our website:

Photo: Action Images

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