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Newcastle fan ‘making great progress’ as family thank medics for saving his life

Newcastle fan Alan George Smith

The family of a Newcastle fan who collapsed during Sunday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham have thanked the medics who saved his life.

Alan George Smith, 80, was taken ill during the first half of the game, which was suspended as emergency staff – some of them off duty and attending the match as supporters – rushed to the scene in the East Stand at St James’ Park.

Mr Smith was stabilised inside the stadium before being transferred by ambulance to the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and later the Freeman Hospital, where he continues his recovery.

In a statement released through the club, 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’s Ambulance, fans and stewards at the scene, as well the medical staff at the RVI and Freeman Hospital. We will be forever grateful.

“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.”

Spurs replied to Newcastle’s statement on Twitter, saying: “Everyone at the club is thinking of Alan. Sending you our best wishes on your recovery.”

Referee Andre Marriner called a halt to the game for 20 minutes after being alerted to the incident by Tottenham left-back Sergio Reguilon, whose team-mate Eric Dier sprinted over to the bench to call for medics and a defibrillator. Play only resumed after Mr Smith had been taken to hospital.

Dr Tom Prichard, an accident and emergency registrar at North Tees Hospital in Stockton, was one of those who helped to revive the casualty and later revealed his life had been saved by the prompt actions of those who administered chest compressions and the presence of a defibrillator inside the stadium.