Sheffield United star hoping to be released from hospital tomorrow after heart op

Former Sheffield United star Alan Birchenall.
Former Sheffield United star Alan Birchenall.
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Sheffield United legend Alan Birchenall says he is hoping to be allowed home form hospital tomorrow after undergoing a heart op after collapsing at an awards ceremony.

The former Blades goal-grabber was taken to hospital on Thursday night and told Twitter followers that he had undergone an operation after a nurse gave him four shocks with a defibrillator after he fell ill at an event in Leicester.

The 71-year-old sports star is in a stable condition and took to Twitter at the weekend to tell fans he was well enough to watch the Chelsea v Leicester football match from his hospital bed.

He wrote: "Hello all. Op went well and I'm all in position ready to watch the match! Thanks for your messages. Hoping to be out by Tuesday. Birchy."

Birchenall was representing another of his clubs, Leicester City, at the Leicester Mercury Sports Awards at Leicester Tigers' Welford Road stadium when he collapsed.

A nurse who came to his aid has told of the drama and how she had to use a defibrillator to help the footballer, known as The Birch.

Lisa Fereday, who was attending as her daughter was nominated, said Mr Birchenall's first words were, "Wow, what just happened?".

She said: "I started chest compressions and asked for the automatic defib to be brought to me as soon as possible and someone ran for that.

"When it came I attached that and was able to deliver a shock for his arrhythmia which was pivotal in saving his life.

"After the fourth shock he came back round and was breathing for himself again and the first thing he said to me was, 'Wow, what just happened then?'."

Dr Douglas Skehan said: "He has had so many messages of support I have warned him not to respond to too many - but he is overjoyed by the response."

He was about to present the 'club of the year' honour but complained of feeling ill backstage and was taken to Glenfield Hospital in the city.

Birchenall works as an ambassador at Leicester City's King Power Stadium but began his career at Sheffield United, scoring 31 goals in 107 games between 1963 and 1967.

Signed by then United manager John Harris, Birchenall was a skilful attacking midfielder who initially played in the Blades youth and reserve team where he became a prolific goal scorer. He made his league debut a year after he was signed playing against Stoke City in September 1964.

Nicknamed The Birch, Birchenall soon cemented himself in the Blades first team, endearing himself to the fans by scoring both goals against local rivals Sheffield Wednesday in a 2–0 victory at Hillsborough in only his second game.

Netting nine goals in his first twelve First Division games he soon formed a formidable partnership with fellow striker Mick Jones who he had played with as a Nottinghamshire schoolboy.

In 1967 however, with United seeking to raise funds both Birchenall and Jones were sold in quick succession with Birchenall being transferred to Chelsea.

Birchenall was among the first players to command a £100,000 price tag when he made the move in November 1967.

In a 20-year career,he also played for Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Notts County, Blackburn Rovers and Luton Town.