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Norwich City fan 'lucky to be alive' after cardiac arrest at Carrow Road

PUBLISHED: 15:18 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:52 03 January 2020

Norwich City season ticket holder Tony Kirwan, 71, plans to get back to Carrow Road for the Canaries' next home game against Bournemouth on January 18. Picture: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020.

Norwich City season ticket holder Tony Kirwan, 71, plans to get back to Carrow Road for the Canaries' next home game against Bournemouth on January 18. Picture: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020.

Archant 2020

A Norwich City fan plans to be back watching his beloved Canaries in action at their next home game despite suffering a cardiac arrest at Carrow Road.

Tony Kirwan smiling and wearing his Norwich City scarf just hours after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road. Picture: Courtesy of Tony Kirwan.Tony Kirwan smiling and wearing his Norwich City scarf just hours after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road. Picture: Courtesy of Tony Kirwan.

Season ticket holder Tony Kirwan collapsed in his South Stand seat during the second half of City's 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, December 28.

Fellow supporters, ground staff and paramedics rushed to his aid during the second half - his heart was re-started and he was taken out of the ground on a stretcher and to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for emergency surgery.

Mr Kirwan, 71, who was attending the game with his son Jon and future daughter-in-law Amanda Maruchko, knows that he is "lucky to be alive".

He said: "During the second half I suddenly felt a tremendous feeling of dizziness, which came in waves. After that, the first thing I remember is the oxygen mark being fitted and leaving the ground.

Tony Kirwan with his wife Trottie. Picture: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020.Tony Kirwan with his wife Trottie. Picture: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020.

"I was taken to Norfolk and Norwich where the cardiologists were waiting for me and i had the operation pretty much straight away."

Mr Kirwan, a retired lecturer and Canaries season ticket holder who lives in Dilham, near North Walsham, has now had a pacemaker fitted with a small defibrillator, in order to re-start his heart should it happen again.

Despite his ordeal, he says he is "feeling pretty good" and is thankful for the help of all those who cared for him.

He said: "I'm in the process of recovering from the operation. I can't use my arm for the next fortnight in case it pulls the leads out of my heart. Then, it's about building my strength up.

Stewards, medical staff and fellow supporters rush to Tony Kirwan's aid during the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267.Stewards, medical staff and fellow supporters rush to Tony Kirwan's aid during the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267.

"I was so fortunate - my cardiologist said Carrow Road is the best place in Norfolk to have a cardiac arrest.

"If it hadn't been for St John's Ambulance I wouldn't be here. I need to thank the speed of St John's, the professionalism of the ground staff and the amazing work of the cardiologist team at Norfolk and Norwich.

"I experienced the NHS at its absolute best."

He was unable to attend the game against Crystal Palace on New Year's Day but, incredibly, he hopes to be back at the stadium for the next home game against Bournemouth - just three weeks after his cardiac arrest.

Tony Kirwan suffered a cardiac arrest during Norwich City's match against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road. He thanks all the people involved in saving his life. Picture: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020.Tony Kirwan suffered a cardiac arrest during Norwich City's match against Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road. He thanks all the people involved in saving his life. Picture: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020.

"I just need to remember not to put my arms up if we score," he said.

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