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In July, 1936, The Civil War broke out in Spain. Understandably, things like football were suspended. The 1936/37 La Liga season was put on hold as tensions grew around the country. Aligning with the Republicans, FC Barcelona were a club under threat. Shortly after war broke out, a number of players enlisted to fight against the Nationalist uprising and club president, Josep Sunyol was murdered. On the verge on bankruptcy, it was the actions of the club’s then manager that saved Barcelona from financial ruin. Irishman, Patrick O’Connell.

Patrick was born in Westmeath in 1887, before his family moved to Dublin where he grew up. It was here that he developed a real love for football from a young age. Football provided Patrick with an escape from what was a tough upbringing around the inner suburb of Drumcondra, a very poor area at the time. In amongst playing junior football, Patrick began working in a factory from the age of 14, which was quite common in those days. So the opportunity to play professionally was certainly a way out.

O’Connell started his playing career at Belfast Celtic as a centre forward. It was also during this time that he married his wife, Ellen, who gave birth to their first son just a few months later. He would eventually be converted to a centre half before transferring to Sheffield Wednesday in 1909, who were then in England’s First Division. He arrived with teammate, Peter Warren and the combined fee for both players was just 50 pounds.

While at Sheffield, O’Connell only made 18 appearances in three years but in 1912, as his time at The Owls was coming to a close, Patrick began his International career for Ireland. His next club was Hull City, where he spent two seasons and made 58 appearances. But it was his performances for his country in the 1914 British Home Championship that would help secure his next contract.

As captain, Patrick O’Connell led Ireland to win the tournament, which included defeating England for the first time ever, 3-0 at Ayresome Park in Middlesbrough. A 1-1 draw with Scotland in the final game secured the British Home Championship for Ireland, a match in which Patrick played the entire second half with a broken arm.
Ireland’s 1914 British Home Championship side, featuring Patrick O’Connell (back row, far right).

This was enough to get the attention of Manchester United who paid £1,000 for his services – quite a lot of money in those days, which meant United had to pay Hull City in instalments. Patrick was appointed captain and scored on debut against Oldham Athletic on September 2nd, 1914. But his time at Man Utd wasn’t without controversy. On April 2nd, 1915 in a match against Liverpool, he was accused of being involved in a betting scandal. The game was allegedly fixed for a 2-0 result in Manchester United’s favour, who were fighting to avoid relegation.

The final result? 2-0. That was the score when Patrick had missed a penalty, something he was known to be good at. There was an FA investigation and seven players were allegedly involved. Three from United and four from Liverpool. But O’Connell was never charged. He only made two more appearances for The Red Devils before the First World War interrupted professional football in England.

During the war, Patrick actually remained a registered Manchester United player but in between working in a London factory, he completed guest appearances for non-league clubs, Clapton Orient, Rochdale and Chesterfield. When competitive football resumed in 1919, O’Connell was left to find a new club. He moved to part-timers, Dumbarton in Scotland, making 31 appearances before returning to England a year later to join non-league side, Ashington.

It was here that Patrick started his managerial journey, taking over as player-manager in his second season. This was an important period in O’Connell’s football career, but it also marked a change in his personal life. From 1919, upon leaving Dumbarton his family never saw him again, except for one son. For reasons unknown, one day Patrick just walked out on his family with no notice.

He remained at Ashington until 1922 as his playing days came to an end, before making yet another move to pursue his managerial career full time at Racing Santander in Spain. O’Connell would spend seven years as manager of Santander, winning five regional titles in the process. He then joined Real Oviedo in 1929 for two seasons before arriving at Real Betis and achieving promotion from the Second Division by winning the league in his first year at the club. Then in 1935, Patrick guided Betis to their first and only La Liga title to date.

His achievements at Real Betis were so highly regarded that it forced FC Barcelona to take notice and he was appointed their new manager for the 1935/36 season. A year later, the Civil War breaks out on July 18th, 1936. Although Barcelona itself isn’t on the front lines, it’s still subject to hardships, including many bombings and the war also provokes a social revolution within the city and La Liga is suspended. With no football and tensions building around the country, Patrick returns to Ireland. But in early 1937 he’s lured back to Barcelona when the club receives an invitation – or rather, a lifeline.

They’re offered the chance to play a series of games in the Americas, including matches in Mexico and New York. The idea is presented to Barcelona by a Catalan exile named Serrano Mas and O’Connell plays a crucial in not only convincing the players to go, but giving the tour legitimacy. The trip proved to be a success, raising the required funds that ultimately saved FC Barcelona from bankruptcy.

Patrick remained at Barca until 1940 before returning to London. Not long after, that same year he received a pardon to go back to Spain, joining Real Betis for a second stint for two seasons. He then switched to local rivals Sevilla for three years and finally finished his career where his Spanish journey started – back at Racing Santander from 1947-49.

In football terms, his achievements are beyond impressive, but his personal life was just as intriguing. During his time in Spain, Patrick actually re-married, without divorcing his first wife. Upon finding out he was a bigamist, his second wife left him. Alone and cut off from his family, Patrick returned to London in 1954 to live with his brother. By this time he was penniless and had to claim welfare benefits.

Patrick O’Connell died of pneumonia, destitute in 1959, aged 71 and he was buried in an unmarked grave in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in North-West London. For years, he remained largely forgotten in the football world, until 2014 when a couple of fans learned of his incredible story.
Patrick O’Connell’s final resting place prior to its 2016 restoration.

They established the Patrick O’Connell Memorial Fund in an effort to restore his final resting place, in addition to arranging several initiatives that recognise the huge contribution he made to football. A fitting tribute for the man affectionately known as ‘Don Patricio’.

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When we think of football tours, the world’s top clubs travelling the globe for exhibition matches might spring to mind. But it’s not just the professional teams. In 1995, an amateur pub team embarked on a tour of their own in the Far East. This is the story of Wild Westerners FC.

What started as a conversation between mates over a few beers developed into an organised, three country tour of India, Vietnam and the Philippines. Stewart Cruttenden, a travel writer and journalist made regular trips to the Far East for work, during which time he joined up with some local expat teams, just for fun. He enjoyed playing so much that he decided to form his own team.

Wild Westerners came together as a group of friends, playing in tours around Asia for several years. However, on their third tour in ‘95 things started to get a little more serious. By then, Cruttenden had made a few friends in the region and had right the contacts when it came to arranging matches. Although, being the early nineties, most of it was done via fax machine.

WWFC would usually play two games at each destination against some expat teams who would then help them set up a match with a local team in the same or similar location. Enter Cantho City FC, full time professionals and one of the top clubs in Vietnam at the time. In fact, they’d won the national cup competition the year before, finishing second in the league. They also had ten Vietnamese Internationals on their books.

Upon arrival at their hotel in Cantho, it was clear to Cruttenden that there had been a serious misunderstanding. They were greeted by an excited crowd, held back by police and a welcoming party of military and local sports directors. Between the faxes back and forth, something had certainly been lost in translation.

Cruttenden met with the head of the local sports committee who wanted a list of their players and squad numbers for the radio commentators. He then began explaining the etiquette of marching out and presenting bouquets to people in the crowd. Yes, the crowd. The 25,000 capacity Cantho Stadium had been sold out for weeks. Bewildered, but not really in a position to back out, Cruttenden decided to play along.

Come match day, Wild Westerners piled onto the bus which drove into the stadium like it was an FA Cup Final at Wembley. Torrential rain delayed kick-off by 90 minutes but the locals deemed the match too important to postpone, so it went ahead. The wet weather would be in Wild Westerners advantage though, keeping the scoreline somewhat respectable, given the contrast between the two sides. 12-2 the final score in favour of the locals.

Only 5,000 spectators remained in the stadium but it didn’t matter. The local fans weren’t disappointed the this team from England turned out to be complete amateurs. Actually, it wasn’t clear whether they even realised. But they were just as excited as they’d been at the hotel days before, cheering both teams and the efforts on display. In response, the Wild Westerners signed autographs and gave away their playing shirts and gear to all the kids in the crowd before departing.

It’s important to note that during the early nineties the Vietnam War was still firmly in people’s memories and Westerners had only just started going back to the country. But this was a perfect example of the power of football to transcend and unite.

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In 1992 the European Cup was rebranded as the. Along with changes to the competitions format, including the introduction of a group stage, UEFA called for a complete design overhaul and commissioned the marketing company, TEAM (Television Event And Media) to carry out the rebrand. It was the process that gave us the distinctive.

Britten used the first few bars of Handel’s rising string phrase, adapting them into a full three minute orchestral composition, performed by the. Britten employed a linguist to translate numerous superlatives into English, French and German – the three official languages of UEFA.

Since its introduction the anthem has become synonymous with the competition and is now loved all over the world by fans and players alike.

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As a global sport, football is integral to so many cultures around the world and naturally, we see it represented in many different art forms, including film.

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery is recognised as one of the first adaptations of the world game to the big screen. Released in 1939, the film focuses on a fictional exhibition match between Arsenal and amateur club, ‘The Trojans’ at Highbury Stadium. During the match, one of the Trojans players drops dead and a murder mystery ensues. It’s still highly regarded as an important film of its era.

Football films came in and out of fashion quite consistently over the following years, hitting a peak in 1981 with the release of the cult classic, Escape to Victory. Known simply as Victory in North America, the film tells the story of World War II Prisoners of War who agree to play an exhibition match against a German team. Learning that the match is a German propaganda stunt, the Allies devise a plan to escape from the stadium.

It’s held up to be one of the better football films and is supposedly (very loosely) based on a real match. The story portrayed on screen however is very much dramatised, as movies tend to be. Starring Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone and featuring big name players, including Pele and Bobby Moore, employing footballers who can’t act and actors who can’t play football was always going to be a challenge. But surprisingly, it’s quite an enjoyable film and is actually one of few examples where the scale of a real life match is presented fairly accurately.
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Both of these films certainly have some charm about them but unfortunately, the same can’t be said for so many other movies. Football has a difficult relationship with the big screen, not to mention the direct-to-video small screen. A common narrative is the football fairytale, an unlikely star overcoming various obstacles to make it at the top level of the game. Like the Goal! Trilogy.

There’s also been several films centered around football hooligans. I.D., released in 1995 is one of the better examples but Green Street (and its two sequels) was a terrible film on nearly every level. It starred Elijah Wood as an American journalism student who gets mixed up in a football firm in London. Honestly, the less said about it the better.

Notable films such as Bend It Like Beckham, When Saturday Comes, Gregory’s Girl, The Damned United and even Fever Pitch manage to steer clear of being truly dreadful. But while they have their appealing elements, they’re far from special. There are a some great feature films about sports but when it comes to the world’s most popular game, football films tend to disappoint more often than not.

Although, there is one feature film in particular that does stand out. Offside, released in 2006. If there’s one advantage that film can offer football, it’s a platform to explore social and cultural issues that often go unrecognised. And Offside does this superbly.

The film focuses on a group of Iranian women who want to watch a crucial World Cup Qualifier at Tehran’s national stadium between Iran and Bahrain. However, women are banned from attending football matches and other sports events in Iran. This leads the women to adopt disguises in order to sneak in.

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Director Jafar Panahi has stated that he used football to highlight the wider discrimination against women in his home country. The Iranian government have since banned the film and Panahi was placed under house arrest and banned from leaving the country.

Great feature films may be few and far between but where football really shines is documentaries. The Four Year Plan, Hillsborough, The Two Escobars, I Believe in Miracles and Next Goal Wins are all fantastic films.

Another, that certainly set itself apart is Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. Filmed in real time, it follows Zinedine Zidane for an entire match with 17 cameras, all focused on the player during a La Liga match between Real Madrid and Villarreal. Although Zidane doesn’t have a particularly good game, the film gives you a unique insight into the kind of player and person he was, when you strip away all of the glamourous elements of his career. It’s definitely not for everyone but it’s an incredibly refreshing take on the beautiful game that allows you to view football in an incredibly unique way.


We certainly haven’t seen the last of terrible football films but as long as the game is embedded in our lives, expressing that through film will always be valuable.

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Hey, guys. I am creator of @BeckhamInside media and i really love sports management and US sports. So i am going to make few advices for future Beckham football club and we started from article about the fans.


When they say “sell”, I immediately think of products or services as well as of ideas that can be sold to investors.

In term of football clubs (usually the ones that are leaders in the national tournaments), it is really appropriate to say “sell something to a fan”, because such clubs do not need to make any excuses if a season was unsuccessful. They are clubs that deserve their status and therefore they reap the fruits of their hard work by monetizing their popularity in many ways.

It is really hard to imagine to what extent faithful feelings some fans have concerning their favorite clubs. Some fans travel hundreds of kilometers in order to see a match, sometimes in bad weather. Additionally, when there is no any chance for the win, such fans will remain optimistic about their club’s future.

A club cannot guarantee a win in every match and consequent title win in the tournament. However, a club may look like a winner in the eyes of its fans (as it usually is before the start of the season) by showing commitment and thanking them for precious support.

For example, during the season a club may collect a large number of interesting and symbolic “lots” that will be sold to the loyal fans. A charity auction will not impact club’s revenues, but it will have a very positive influence on the relationship with fans especially if a season was not very successful.

So, every club should be attentive to details, perhaps even more than fans during the season.

An event can be arranged in a form of a charity event. It will present a club as a socially responsible entity. Such an event will definitely enhance the clubs image in the eyes of partners,sponsors, investors, and certainly in the eyes of fans.

Clubs may sell many very different things at auctions. In the case of clubs that have not fulfilled objectives for the season and have not met fans’ expectations it is worth talking about the possibility of “selling the idea” that the club truly appreciates every fan.

What can be sold at auctions?

Lets begin with simple things. Fans would be happy to buy a ball which was scored “first” and “last”in the season. For example, Olivier Giroud scored a fantastic goal in the opening match against Crystal Palace F.C. and it was only 16 th minute of the match. In turn, the last goal scored by Arsenal was actually an own goal scored by Mark Bunn from Aston Villa in 90+1 minute.

Besides, in the final match Olivier Giroud made a hat-trick. If there is a good photographer, the club would be able to sell exclusive photos with players signatures. Photos should be taken in the locker room or “behind the stage” depicting players’ and staff’s routines. These photos will remind spectators of a programme #HowIt’sMade, but of course they will have a static form, thereby helping everyone to look at their favorite club and players from the different perspective.

So, a club can sell pretty much everything to a fan starting from football boots that belong to the players and ending with the piece of a pitch on which Steven Gerard slipped.

No doubt, auctions should be organized at the end of the season. The mood may not be very optimistic, but everyone eventually understands that results cannot be changed. Auctions and other similar events show that clubs value their fans and play for them. So it should be a clubs wish to share something tangible with fans so that they remain committed to the club in the future.

Communication with fans may have a touching sentiment and consequently improve fans’ mood. If a club has not reached its objectives and was left without a title again or if there were not many thrilling matches, off-pitch events should offer fans compensation for their loyalty. For fans small things related to the club are of great importance.

Therefore, clubs need to be more attentive in their routines in order to build up a stronger relationship with fans.

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