FA Cup: Martin Allen says he considered quitting over heart problem

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Heart condition nearly forced me to quit football - Martin Allen

Martin Allen considered quitting football because of fears over his heart condition, the Eastleigh manager told BBC's Football Focus.

Allen, 51, discovered he had a problem during a health check last year.

"Over the next few months they'll monitor it," he said in the build-up to Eastleigh's FA Cup third-round tie with his former club Brentford on Saturday.

"My wife Lisa suggested looking at other areas of work. I was close to quitting altogether."

The ex-QPR and West Ham midfielder was alerted to the severity of the problem when he was told he could not partake in a fitness test. The medical was conducted by the League Managers' Association.

"The last test was on the treadmill, wearing the big mask," he added. "The doctor said I wasn't allowed to do it because I wasn't close enough to the hospital. That was a bit of a shock."

Allen was manager of Barnet at the time. He quit the League Two side and joined National League side Eastleigh at the start of December.

He said: "They couldn't find what was wrong, but they knew something was beating irregularly. They thought it was an artery so I had one of those stem things put in to clear it. At the time it was upsetting."

Allen was due to have an operation until doctors discovered it was actually a problem with one on the chambers in his heart.

"I've been told to carry on, but to do no running, no real exercise and to look after myself," he continued.

"They told me to come back in three months. I've got my Fitbit, I do more walking and I'm eating more vegetables and fruit. I'm not as animated in the technical area."

He added: "I've been in football since I was eight when my dad was the manager at Cheltenham Town. I wasn't bothered about schoolwork, it was all about coaching and training.

"I've had knee and groin injuries and broken noses, but when it's the heart it's an extra worry."

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