A football fan who collapsed on the terraces and brought the Newcastle United versus Tottenham Premier League game to a halt is recovering in hospital and walking around, his grateful family has said.
Medics in the crowd rushed to give first aid to Alan George Smith, 80, when he suffered a cardiac arrest at St James’ Park on Sunday.
He was treated at the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital before being switched to a specialist unit at the city’s Freeman Hospital, where he remained for further tests.
His family issued a statement thanking players for their quick-thinking actions in alerting the referee so the game could stop, as well as the medics who volunteered their life-saving skills.
His son Paul said: “We are pleased to advise that Alan is making great progress, is now fully alert and is up and walking about.
“He will remain in hospital over the next few days while further tests are carried out.
“He and our family would like to say thank you to his friend, Don Williamson, who was with him at the time and alerted everyone to his condition.
“We would also like to thank and pay tribute to the doctors and nurses who administered CPR, the paramedics from North East Ambulance Service, St John Ambulance, fans and stewards at the scene, as well the medical staff at the RVI and Freeman Hospital.
“We will be forever grateful.”
Mr Smith said his father had received many good wishes on social media from fans, as well as players.
He said: “We would also like to say thank you to all of the people who have wished Alan well on social media and the players and staff of both Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, especially Jamaal Lascelles who has sent a personal message.
“It meant so much to Alan.
“He is looking forward to getting back to St James’ Park as soon as possible.”
Accident and Emergency consultant Dr Tom Prichard, who works at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, was among the medics who performed CPR and used a defibrillator before paramedics arrived to take Mr Smith to hospital.
Fans in the ground looked shocked and worried when the game, which had a global TV audience of millions, was stopped for 20 minutes, with the players coming off the pitch while the life-saving first aid work was going on.
Supporters cheered and called Dr Prichard a hero as he returned to his seat in the Gallowgate end after helping out.