Football: Charity football stalwart recovering after undergoing heart surgery in Spain
LOCAL football stalwart Alan Vickers is in intensive care after emergency heart surgery in Majorca.
The 65-year-old was on holiday with his wife Lynne when he suffered an aneurysm.
Family report he is on the mend after a five-and-a-half hour operation. However, he is also suffering from a lung infection and is expected to remain in intensive care for the next three to four days.
Alan, who is from Kidsgrove, is chairman of the Sentinel Charity Football Competitions Committee, which raises thousands of pounds each season for good causes in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
He joined the Sentinel committee in 1982 having made a name for himself as a prolific striker for Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town and Northwich Victoria.
Wife Lynne, who is at Alan's bedside in Majorca, says she and the family have been grateful for the many messages of support they have received.
Alan has four children, Sean, David, Simon, Sarah, a stepdaughter Lisa and 12 grandchildren.
Lynne said: "The messages we have had have shown just how well liked Alan is. It's times like this that you really appreciate your friends."
Alan initially went to hospital feeling unwell on Friday, June 15.
He was discharged three days later, but he and Lynne planned to cut short their holiday to fly home last Wednesday.
However, Alan was taken back to hospital on Wednesday morning where a scan revealed the aneurysm.
He was rushed from Alcudia to a specialist hospital in Palma, where he underwent surgery and has since been joined by family.
Lynne added: "It's been a nightmare. I'm just so glad we didn't try to fly home on the Wednesday. I dread to think what might have happened.
"He is getting better, but we are not going to take anything for granted until he is out of intensive care."
Alan has been involved in North Staffordshire football for 50 years as a player, manager and administrator.
As well as starring for Kidsgrove, Leek and Northwich, he also played for the reserve teams of both Stoke City and Port Vale.
Former Kidsgrove Athletic manager Peter Ward is among those who have sent messages of support.
Ward, who has now joined the management team at Leek Town, said: "I've known Alan since we played football together at William Southern School, which is now St Margaret Ward.
"As a player he was first class, but he's not just liked and respected for his playing days.
"He's a lovely guy who is so well thought of. The contacts he has is incredible."
Sentinel sports editor Keith Wales, the president of The Sentinel Charity Football Competitions Committee, was delighted to hear that Alan's condition was improving.
He said: "Alan has been an excellent chairman of our Charity Football Competitions Committee, which under his guidance has raised ever more money each year to help local good causes.
"On a personal note, he has been an invaluable guide and adviser to me since I joined the committee in 2006, and I wish him a speedy and complete recovery."