Thursday, June 01, 2006

Patrick O'Connell, (pictured left) was born in Dublin in 1887. He began his senior football playing career with Belfast Celtic, playing in the position of full back. In 1908 he joined Sheffield Wednesday and spent four seasons there before joining Hull City in 1912. In this period he played five times for Ireland captaining them in the process.

O'Connell spent one season (1914/15) at Manchester United before signing for Leyton Orient in April 1915. With the First World War raging at the time, football was not the peoples top priority and O'Connell's career was thus effected. He made guest appearances as a player for Rochdale and Chesterfield. After the war he joined Dumbarton before joining Ashington AFC in 1920 for whom he payed till 1922. During his second season at Ashington he was appointed player coach.

In 1922 O'Connell travelled to Spain where he managed Racing Santander where he was to remain till 1929. Untill 1928 football in Spain was based on a regional basis and in this time Raing Santander under O'Connell won the Campeonato de Cantabria on five occasions. It was during his final year as manager in 1929 that Racing Santander joined the newly formed Spanish League.

O'Connell took over as manager of Real Betis in 1932 and in 1935 led them to their first and thus far only Spanish League title. Barcelona appointed O'Connell as manager in the 1935-36 season. Under O'Connell, Barcelona finished runners up in the cup.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil war national football activities were suspended in Spain. O'Connell at the time the civil war commenced was in Ireland and immediately returned to Spain to ensure the safeguarding of his team. It was decided by the club directors that in order to safeguard the players and raise some badly needed cash that Barcelona should tour the Ameiricas. So in 1937 O'Connell took his players on tour to Mexico and the United States. Many players took advantage of this situation and opted to remain in Mexico rather than return to war ravaged Spain. By the time O'Connell did returned to Spain only four players remained of the remaining touring party remained.

With war still ongoing in Spain football continued at a local level and Barcelona won the Camiopnat de Catalunya in 1935-36 and 1937-38. O'Connell also led the club to further glory in La Liga del Mediterraneo in 1937, which at the time replaced the Spanish National League.

The final managerial posts for O'Connell were at Sevilla between 1943-45 and Racing Santander from 1947 to 1949. After this O'Connell's permit to remain in Spain was revoked and he was deported from the country.

Patrick O'Connell died penniless, destitute and forgotten in St. Pancras, London in 1959.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Technorati Profile