An emotional David Ginola described having "very weird" memories of his own cardiac arrest after Newcastle's first game under Saudi ownership was halted due to a fan collapsing in the crowd.
The former France forward, who starred for both Newcastle and their opponents Tottenham, was watching on at St James' Park as a guest analyst for Sky Sports when the match was dramatically stopped four minutes from the end of the first half.
As the spectator was worked on by paramedics prior to being rushed to hospital, Ginola said during the live coverage that it was "vital" the public gets training in CPR or using a defibrillator.
"It's obviously a very strange experience," he said, drawing comparisons with his own near-death experience when he had a heart attack during a charity match in May 2016.
While Ginola lay on the pitch, his friend and fellow footballer Frédéric Mendy administered CPR which ultimately saved his life
"I hope the man or the woman is going to be fine but it brings back some very weird memories," Ginola said on Sunday.
Around 6 years ago we placed 2 defibrillators in St James Park. Incredible to see one safeguarding today ❤️⚽️ https://t.co/G5XvODllMw
— NE Defibs (@NEdefibs) October 17, 2021
The collapse of a male supporter was first spotted by Tottenham defender Sergio Reguilon, as his team prepared to take a corner, who ran to alert referee Andre Marriner. Fans waved frantically, calling for action.
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles followed by Spurs defender Eric Dier ran over to the dug-outs and shouted that someone had been taken ill. Lascelles called for Newcastle club doctor Paul Catterson to run over with a defibrillator which he did.
"This is what saved my life – I was dead for 12 minutes."
Sky Sports guest David Ginola talks about the importance of CPR – something which saved his life when he collapsed during a charity game in 2016. pic.twitter.com/vfvYczR7k2
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 17, 2021
"I think a defibrillator helps massively - for people in the stands, as well," Ginola added. "Having people in the stands being able to perform CPR helps massively, and the speed of CPR is so important. At the end of the day we should all be able to perform CPR to help each other."
Ginola had been declared clinically dead for around eight minutes during his ordeal, which left him needing a quadruple bypass. "It's obviously a very strange experience," he added. "Encountering that today...we didn't come for that..hopefully he or she is going to be fine but it is an important moment to make the point. It's a major issue in people's lives and there are hundreds of thousands of people dying from sudden deaths. We don't know the cause, we need to improve our knowledge to inform people."
Among a host of leading football figures to express shock was Gary Lineker. "Very much hope that the players' excellent and quick response saves the fan’s life," he wrote on Twitter.