Sheffield Wednesday join Keane and Beckham to honour Irish legend who captained Man United
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Sheffield Wednesday join Keane and Beckham to honour Irish legend who captained Man United

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY football club will hold an event to honour former player, Manchester United captain and Barcelona manager Paddy ‘Don Patricio’ O’Connell.

Last month The Irish Post revealed that Roy Keane and David Beckham were backing a campaign to erect a memorial for Mr O’Connell who is buried in an unmarked grave in Kilburn’s St Marys Cemetery.

Since, names like Johan Cruyff and former England world cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks have joined.

At the same time, the memorial fund team have contacted Gordon Taylor in the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) seeking their support after learning that O’Connell joined as a member in 1907.

"Patrick O'Connell is a former player who went on to achieve great things." said a spokesman for Sheffield Wednesday. "We are happy to support his memorial campaign."

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The club told The Irish Post than an event will take place on February 27th at Hillsborough.

Through his career, Patrick O’Connell lined out with Sheffield Wednesday, captained Manchester United and later, led Real Betis to their first and only La Liga title. He is also credited with saving Barcelona from General Franco during the Spanish Civil War when he was in charge at the Camp Nou.

However he would die destitute in London in 1959, his story sunk in an unmarked grave.

Next year marks the centenary of his time as captain of Manchester United.

Dowd said that O’Connell’s name still echoes at Barcelona and Real Betis and it is hoped a memorial statue, which will be erected in Belfast, will bring a wider recognition of his story.

“To have the support of some of those names is a massive thing,” he said. “But to have a club consider an event around him, that is significant [also]. It’s about shining a light on a life.”

Patrick O’Connell is hailed in Real Betis who he managed to their only La Liga title.

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Since the original article appeared in The Irish Post, the club have contacted the memorial fund with a commitment to reinforce support.