Doors 7.30pm – Film 8pm
Film with Q and A from writer and director Michael Andersen. Compered by the Evening Chronicle’s Mark Carruthers. Appearances from ex-NUFC Mick Martin, John ‘Ando’ Anderson and Paul Ferris.
‘Don Patricio’ – Patrick O’Connell, The Man Who Saved Barcelona
Patrick O’Connell died poor and alone in London in 1959. But in the 1920, 30s and 40s, O’Connell was the captain of Ireland and Manchester United, and later an extremely successful manager at Racing Santander, Oviedo, Real Betis (wininng La Liga in 1935), Sevilla and FC Barcelona – plying his trade in the midst of the Irish Rising, the Spanish civil war and Franco’s oppression.
O’Connell also had what we today call ‘an interesting private life’.
In Spain, O’Connell was revered as ‘Don Patricio’ – the film follows his footsteps all over the world.
For decades, O’Connell was lying in an unmarked grave in London. Forgotten. How did this happen? How could ‘the man who saved FC Barcelona’ from Franco be totally forgotten?
Three years ago, a group of Irish-British football fans started a campaign/fund to secure O’Connell the place he deserves in football history.
In order to start collect funds, they asked dozens of world footballers to sign shirts to auction off – Pele, Cruyff, Maldini, Suarez, Beckham, Roy Keane and many many others helped them.
The film crew followed and filmed their work for three years – in Dublin, Belfast, Scotland, North-East England, Manchester, London, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander and Mexico.
Wherever O’Connell, they went.
They interviewed footballers (Martin O’Neill, Niall Quinn, Harry Gregg, Jimmy Nicholl, Kevin Moran, Bertie Auld and many more), historians, artist even politicians (Gerry Adams).
As a result of the campaign, O’Connell’s grave in London has now been properly restored, there are murals of him in Belfast, a bronze bust of O’Connell has been inducted into the museum of Real Betis, a painting of him in the boardroom of FC Barcelona, plaques with his name where O’Connell used to live in Dublin and Belfast, and more than 10 exhibitions about his life.