An unmarked grave to hero status: the Irishman who saved Barcelona | Paul Doyle

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Fergus Dowd, an IT systems analyst for Dublin, won the backing of Luís Figo, Roy Keane and a film director to help rescue from obscurity Patrick O’Connell and his exploits at Barcelona

Like absolutely no other middle-aged IT systems analysts from Dublin, Fergus Dowd went to a Blyth Spartans match and wound up spearheading an international campaign to resurrect the memory of a former Manchester United captain who saved Barcelona from extinction. Sometimes, apparently, it takes an extraordinary Irishman to tell the story of an extraordinary Irishman.

Patrick O’Connell, a footballer with what might be classed as scoundrel tendencies as well as qualities that enabled him to become a heroic manager, had lain in an unmarked London grave for 57 years until Dowd heard about his singular life and decided to rally, with almost Geldofian zeal, the football world into action. The story of how he and a trio of other not-so-average football fans did that, and of O’Connell’s exploits during some of the bloodiest episodes of 20th century Europe, are the subject of Don Patricio, a documentary by the Danish director Michael Andersen that will be shown for the first time next Monday in Dublin before being screened around Britain and Spain (also available here).

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Written by Paul Doyle
This news first appeared on under the title “An unmarked grave to hero status: the Irishman who saved Barcelona | Paul Doyle”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.