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Former Tottenham midfielder Steve Perryman says he would probably have died if he had suffered from his heart problem away from Exeter City’s ground.

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The Exeter director of football, who made more than 650 appearances for Spurs between 1969 and 1986, needed emergency surgery after a torn aorta on the last day of last season.

He had emergency care at the ground before going to hospital in Exeter. His situation was similar to that of Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba, who himself survived after he collapsed on the White Hart Lane pitch during a game last season

“My wife and girls were in London at a christening, so if it had happened on Friday night, Saturday night or Sunday morning, I’d have been on my own, put myself to bed thinking ‘I’m not feeling great’ and that probably would have been the end,” Perryman said.

“Sixty per cent don’t make it to hospital, and of those that do, only five per cent make it.

“The odds were definitely against me and apparently 15 years ago you wouldn’t have had any chance to survive it.”

Perryman was in the stands for Exeter’s final game of last season against Sheffield United on May 6, when he started to feel unwell.

“I had a pain in my chest and I realised that it wasn’t indigestion, it was a devious pain, so I quickly knew I needed help.

“Andy Tilson (Exeter’s reserve team manager) was a few steps below me in the grandstand, so I tried to go down the steps to tap him on the shoulder, and when I did my legs gave way.

“He then ran down the touchline who got the doctor who got me rushed to hospital.”

Perryman spent two weeks in intensive care and more than a month in hospital.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Lilywhites.

Ground: White Hart Lane (capacity 36,310).

Founded: 1882.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1951, 1961

Second Division: 1920, 1950.

Southern League: 1900.

FA Cup: 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991.

League Cup: 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008.

Uefa Cup: 1972, 1984.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1963.

Leading goalscorers: Jimmy Greaves, 379.

Leading appearances: Steve Perryman, 854.