Irishman Patrick O'Connell to be inducted into FC Barcelona's Hall of Fame

Irishman Patrick O'Connell to be inducted into FC Barcelona's Hall of Fame

IRISH football legend Patrick O’Connell is to be inducted into FC Barcelona’s prestigious Hall of Fame on December 30, 2015.

The Dublin native is renowned for becoming the first Irishman to captain Manchester United, but later managed Barcelona to a Catalan Liga title.

He is also credited with saving the club from General Franco during the Spanish Civil War, when he was in charge at Camp Nou, and will become the first Irishman to make the club's Hall of Fame.

Fergus Dowd of The Patrick O’Connell Memorial Fund, who are on course to restore the Dubliner’s London grave next year, revealed the development in a radio interview.

“We only got word on Monday that Barcelona Football Club are going to induct Patrick into their Hall of Fame,” Fergus told The Irish Jam presenter Kealan Duignan on Wandsworth Radio.

“There's also been a painting donated by a man called Tony Denton, who is from Manchester but is of Irish descent.

“He's painted a picture of Patrick with his Irish cap on and a picture of Patrick from his days at Barcelona, which is going to be put into their museum.

“That's going to happen on the 30th of December when Barcelona play Real Betis, which ties in with his story, given that Patrick managed both clubs.”

Despite an impressive career, O’Connell died destitute in 1959 and received a pauper’s burial at St Mary’s Cemetery in London’s Kensal Green.

His unmarked grave should be restored by February next year as the campaigners have collected close to the £3,000 target required.

Being inducted into FC Barcelona’s Hall of Fame – one of the most prestigious in the sport – will cap a breakthrough year for The Patrick O’Connell Memorial Fund, as his achievements are finally beginning to be recognised.

Earlier this year, a plaque was unveiled in Dublin to mark his former home at 87 Fitzroy Avenue in Drumcondra.