A new film, three years in the making, about Irish footballer Patrick O’Connell who saved FC Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War will premiere in Dublin in April, while also being screened throughout Europe.
O’Connell was the first Irishman to captain Manchester United, managed Real Betis to La Liga in 1935 and was a founder of La Liga in 1929 with Racing Santander – he died penniless in London in 1959.
View the trailer to the film trailer ‘Don Patricio’
The new film was produced by Michael Andersen from Mulberry Media in Spain who has worked extensively with Al Jazeera TV. Filming took place in Ireland, UK, Mexico and Spain to create a 90-minute feature over three years following the fundraising group’s journey.
Contributions have been made by a host of sporting legends and tells the story of O’Connell the man attributed with saving Barca during the Spanish Civil War and who died penniless in London and spent 57 years in an unmarked grave.
Today, FC Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world, boasting one of the game’s greatest ever players in Lionel Messi. With a global fan base of millions, they are once again tipped by commentators and the various sports betting sites as favourites to win the club game’s most prestigious competition, the UEFA Champion League. However, were it not for the intervention of Dubliner O’Connell, the future of the Catalan club could have turned out very differently.
With the 1936–37 season suspended because of the Civil War, O’Connell spearheaded a trip to Mexico for a series of exhibition games which took the Barcelona’s finances out of debt, cited as pivotal in securing the future of this great footballing institution.
The film also tells the story of three football fans in raising monies for a proper memorial for Patrick in London with support from a host of football legends and to have O’Connell recognised in the cities around the world where he played and managed. The late great Johan Cruyff was the first footballer to sign a shirt in support of the fundraising efforts for O’Connell’s new memorial.
The film will premiere in Dublin in April and will also be shown at The Barcelona Film Festival as well as in Manchester, London, Seville, Belfast and in Mexico.