Town hero Beattie in new health scare

IPSWICH legend Kevin Beattie was today rushed to hospital.His wife, Margaret, said she feared he was suffering from the same illness that almost killed him 12 years ago.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH legend Kevin Beattie was today rushed to hospital.

His wife, Margaret, said she feared he was suffering from the same illness that almost killed him

12 years ago.

Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said: "Kevin has been admitted for investigative tests and is in a comfortable condition."

The 49-year-old former Town and England defender has been voted the club's greatest-ever player in a series of supporters' polls.

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Beattie underwent a life-saving operation in March 1991 after doctors diagnosed pancreatitis.

His wife was called to the hospital because medical staff were not convinced he would pull through.

Family members and several former team-mates maintained an anxious vigil at his bedside before Beattie stunned the experts by the speed of his recovery.

The former powerhouse star's weight plummeted by more than three stones after his brush with death and he vowed to change his lifestyle.

But today he is back in the same hospital after being taken ill at his home in the Chantry area of town.

Mrs Beattie said: "Kevin was suffering severe stomach pains and he knew what it was. It was the same as he went through in 1991.

"I spoke to an emergency doctor before seven o'clock this morning and then our own doctor called at the house.

"She gave him a painkilling injection and went back to the surgery. Then she called, said she had spoken to the hospital and said it would be better if Kevin went in.

"She made all the arrangements and although Kevin was in a lot of pain he walked down the stairs and out to the ambulance.

"That would have been at about 8.30. My daughter, Louise, went with him in the ambulance and her sister Emma has joined her at the hospital.

"He has had blood tests but at the moment I don't know the results. But the symptoms were definitely similar to when he had pancreatitis."

Carlisle-born Beattie arrived at Ipswich at the age of 16 and two years later made his first team debut at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

He won England youth and under-23 honours, then collected nine senior caps, before his career was brought to a premature end in 1982 after a series of knee operations.

He made a total of 307 appearances for the club and scored 32 goals. An FA Cup winner in 1978, he missed the UEFA Cup Final three years later with a broken arm and never played for Ipswich again.

Beattie had a short spell and Colchester, and a further stint at Middlesbrough, as he tried in vain to revive his career.

More recently he worked as a summariser for BBC Radio Suffolk and has been writing a weekly column for The Evening Star.

He has also joined the coaching staff at home-town club Carlisle on a part-time basis.

Beattie was on the bench at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday as Carlisle were beaten 2-0 by Bristol City in the LDV Vans Trophy Final.

He has three daughters and five grandchildren.

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