23 February 2008

Pat O'Connell

Centre-half for Ireland's first International Championship win in 1914, Pat O'Connell was a well-travelled player and became an even better travelled manager and coach...

Name: Patrick Joseph O’Connell
Born: 8 March 1887, Drumcondra, Dublin
Died: 27 February 1959, St. Pancras, London (England)
Height: 5.11 ft
Weight: 11.06 st
Position: Centre-Half

Representative Honours: Ireland: 5 Full Caps (1912-1914), 1 Victory Cap (1919).

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Frankfort
(Dublin)
-
-
-
-
-
Stranville Rovers
(Dublin)
-
-
-
-
-
Belfast Celtic
08/09
Aug-08
-
/5
-
/4
Sheffield Wednesday
08/09-11/12
Mar-09
-
18/0
3/0
-
Hull City
12/13-13/14
May-12
-
58/1
5/0
-
Manchester United
14/15
Apr-14
£1,000
34/2
1/0
-
Rochdale
16/17
Dec-16
Guest
-
-
-
Clapton Orient
17/18
-
Guest
-
-
-
Chesterfield
18/19
-
Guest
-
-
-
Dumbarton
19/20
Aug-19
-
32/0
2/0
-
Ashington
20/21-21/22
c/s-20
-
19/1
-
-
TOTALS
-
£1,000
161/9
11/0
/4

Coaching Career:
Ashington player/manager 1921-1922
Racing Santander manager 1922-1929
Real Oviedo manager 1929-1931
Real Betis manager 1931-1935
Barcelona manager 1935-1938
Real Betis manager 1938-39

Sevilla manager 1942-1945
Racing Santander manager 1948-1949

Recreativo de Huelva scout 1949-1958

Biography:
An intelligent and stylish centre-half, Paddy O'Connell was a powerful opponent. While playing for Stranville Rovers and working at Boland’s Mills in Dublin he was signed by Belfast Celtic in August 1908, and played the full season with them, scoring 5 goals in the league and 4 in the City Cup. The highlight of his career at Belfast Celtic was scoring a hattrick in the 4-1 defeat of Linfield at Windsor Park in a City Cup match on the 31st October 1908.

In April 1909 O'Connell signed for Sheffield Wednesday and spent three seasons at the club without ever securing a regular place. He became a regular at Hull for two seasons and played in all three matches for Ireland when they won the International Championship for the first time in 1914. His displays in these matches was described as “steady as a rock”. In the final match, against Scotland, Paddy was injured in the first half but resumed after eight minutes with a bandaged left forearm. His re-emergence was key as Ireland also lost goalkeeper Fred McKee to injury and they battled from behind to claim a crucial 1-1 darw.

Manchester United signed O'Connell for £1,000 in May 1914 and appointed him captain. He played for Rochdale, Clapton Orient and Chesterfield during the war years, moving to Dumbarton in Scotland in August 1919 and subsequently to Ashington until he suddenly disappeared in June 1922, leaving a wife and young family behind him. He subsequently turned up in Spain, where he embarked on a coaching career that saw him in charge of several Spanish Clubs. He also coached the Spanish national side on a number of occasions.

O'Connell was an enigmatic figure, possessed of great personal charm and charisma. In 1915 he was implicated in a betting scandal while playing for Manchester United, when he missed a penalty in a Good Friday match that was arranged to finish 2-0 to United. He reputedly escaped a suspension because he charmed the adjudication panel. When he left his wife and family in 1922, the first they knew of his whereabouts was when he sent money home from Spain. While in Spain he was associated with the republican movement, as was the Barcelona club, and O’Connell reputedly escaped execution only because General Franco was a soccer fanatic.

In his later years O'Connell moved between Spain and a brother’s home in London. He was living in London when he died on 27 February 1959.

Wikipedia
The Man Who Saved Barcelona Football Club
Belfast Celtic


Ireland Cap Details:

10-02-1912 England. H L 1-6 BC
16-03-1912 Scotland H L 1-4 BC
19-01-1914 Wales... A W 2-1 BC
14-02-1914 England. A W 3-0 BC
14-03-1914 Scotland H D 1-1 BC

Summary: 5/0. Won 2, Drew 1, Lost 2.


Victory Cap Details:
22-03-1919 Scotland A L 1-2 VI

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.

By George Glass with help from O'Connell's daughter and Colin Jose. Further information supplied by Robin Peake.

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