Ex-Magpies chief fights for his life

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FORMER Newcastle United boss, Freddie Fletcher is seriously ill after having emergency surgery.

Newcastle United’s former chief executive is understood to have been diagnosed with the asbestos-related lung cancer mesothelioma, but has also picked up an infection.

Doctors at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary have been treating the 71-year-old Scottish-born tycoon for more than a week.

His daughter, Judith Fourie, 37, said: “My dad had surgery last week, but he’s picked up a really bad infection.

“He’s in hospital fighting that, and he’s going to have further tests.

“I appreciate there is a lot of good feeling and warm wishes.”

Mr Fletcher is being visited by his family, including his two sons, Alan, 42, and Alastair, 41.

Messages of support continue to flood in for the grandfather-of-six, who was credited with transforming the fortunes of Newcastle United after his appointment as chief executive in 1991.

Sir John Hall, who spearheaded the Magpies’ takeover in the early 1990s, paid tribute to his bravery.

The 79-year-old, who was himself diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in April 2010, described his ex-colleague as a “fighter”.

He said: “Everybody is fully behind Freddie.

“It’s a difficult time for him, but he knows he has the support of everyone.”

“We are devastated by the news, but everyone who knows him knows he’s a fighter and we are all behind him.”