Joe Kinnear steers well clear of fatty food these days and he never touches a drop of his beloved Guinness. IAN LLOYD spoke to the Spurs legend and former Wimbledon manager about the heart attack which changed his life.

If you see Joe Kinnear drinking in his local pub this Christmas, the only thing touching his palate will be a drop of red wine. A heart attack while boss of former Premier League club Wimbledon put a different complexion on his visits to The Rising Sun in Highwood Hill, Mill Hill.

Walking along the players' tunnel at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium Joe felt a pain down his left side. Fortunately The Owls' surgeon was on hand to inject him with adrenaline and rush him to hospital.

Two years later and Joe is back in management at Third Division Luton Town and the health hazards of football's most demanding job are again the talk of the terraces. Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier's heart condition saw him dramatically whisked away to hospital at half-time in their game against Leeds in October.

"There's pressure in every walk of life," said Joe, 52. "I had no idea it would happen to me though it just hit me like a bolt out of the blue before kick-off. I was very fortunate."

Following Houllier's well documented heart problems Joe's road to recovery, which included six months in Paris covering Euro 2000 for television, has been a shining example of how to bounce back into the game.

"Liverpool came and did a documentary on me while he [Houllier] was in hospital and they compared the two of us and the pressures of Premiership football because I was manager of Wimbledon for ten years," explained the former Republic of Ireland international.

"I'm certain Gerard will be back like me football is in his blood. But I wouldn't have thought he should come back too soon. There is always a worry that you can come back too early and put more physical pressure on yourself."

Joe seems to have timed his return to perfection. Luton are currently sitting fifth in Division Three and he is relishing the challenge of getting the team promoted.

"I enjoy the pressures. They are as high at Luton as they were in the Premiership because of the expectation level. It's now a results game you live and die by your results. Twenty five managers have hit the wall already this year and some have hardly been in the seat five minutes before they are sacked."

Joe who won one FA Cup, two League Cups and one UEFA Cup in his nine years at Spurs claims he has been approached on "numerous occasions" to manage his local team Barnet FC.

"I go down to Underhill regularly I am very friendly with the chairman Tony Kleanthous," said the father-of-two. "I am disappointed that they went down because we would have been playing them this year. I was hoping it was going to be my local derby.

"He [Kleanthous] has approached me on numerous occasions to manage Barnet but it just wasn't the right time for me.

"I like the club and I wish they would get a new stadium. I think they have got enough of a fan base down here to do well and Kleanthous is doing the best he can. He is a good man who has got the club very much at heart. He loves his football, as all the family do, and I sincerely hope they come straight back up again."