Playing Pasts is delighted to present this podcast by Robin Peake  from the Sporting Lives symposium hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Performance Research.  Subsequently the papers were published into a collection of the same name, for details see –


Fabio Capello, Louis Van Gaal, Johan Cruyff, Leo Beenhakker and Terry Venables.  Thus reads an illustrious list of names; some of the men who have won the Spanish La Liga Championship as a coach.  Irishman Patrick O’Connell, who led Betis Balompie to the title in 1935, has earned his place amongst this select group.  His feat has not been repeated at the Andalucian club, making his triumph all the more notable, and his place in the club’s folklore all the more secure.  O’Connell had played as a half-back in the English and Scottish first divisions in the years enveloping the First World War, before coaching in Spain’s premier league competition.  He captained Manchester United and was given the same honour to lead his country in their historic victory over England in February 1914, as Ireland won their first ever Home International Championship.  As a coach he won twelve major and minor trophies in Spain, including winning the regional Lliga Mediterrania with FC Barcelona when football was disrupted by the Civil War…

Article © Robin Peake 


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