Vol. 4 Num 76 Mon. August 11, 2003  

British managers have weak hearts!

Such is the pressure of running a modern-day professional football team that almost a third of managers in England show signs of heart trouble, a report said on Sunday.

Of 47 Premiership and First Division bosses who volunteered for a check-up, 15 had cardiac problems, according to a survey organised by the League Managers Association (LMA), which represents the highly stressed occupation.

The figure was "staggering", said LMA chief executive John Barnwell, a former manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, adding that he hoped those in charge of all 92 Premiership and Football League teams would eventually sign up for an examination.

"Although some clubs may give them private healthcare, they would (only) be checked at the end of the year," Barnwell was quoted as telling the Independent on Sunday newspaper.

"This scheme allows us to monitor their whole year and can become more of a preventative measure."

A string of managers have over the years suffered heart trouble as the pressure of keeping a squad of generously ego-ed stars in check as well as meeting the expectations of fans and club owners mounts up.

Many of these ailments have, unsurprisingly, first manifested themselves as the managers shouted and gesticulated on the touch-line during a game.

Of current Premiership managers, both Liverpool's Gerard Houllier and Graeme Souness of Blackburn were forced to have life-saving heart surgery despite their physically active profession.

In a previous era Scotland national manager Jock Stein died of a heart attack while watching his side play a World Cup qualifier 18 years ago.