LIVERPOOL FC hero and Wrexham coach Joey Jones has undergone heart surgery at the same hospital that saved Gerard Houllier's life last year.
The former European Cup winning defender had a four-hour operation to repair a leaky heart valve at the Cardiothoracic Centre, Broadgreen, yesterday (Tuesday).
It is understood the 47-year-old had a scan on Friday after he complained to doctors of dizzy spells.
He was admitted on Monday for the surgery and was recovering in intensive care today.
Llandudno-born Joey, aged 47, is a hero of The Kop. The defender signed from Wrexham in 1975 and his all action, gritty style of play earned him an instant rapport with his new fans.
His finest hour came in Rome in 1977 as part of the legendary European Cup winning side which defeated Borussia Munchengladbach 3-1.
The banner "Joey Ate the Frogs Legs, Made the Swiss Roll and now he's Munching Gladbach" sealed his place in Anfield history as much as his brave performances.
After making 93 appearances for the Reds, the left back was sold back to Wrexham in 1978, later moving to Chelsea and Huddersfield before returning to coach the Welsh club in the 1990s.
Last year surgeons at the same hospital saved the life of the Reds' manager after he collapsed during Liverpool's clash with Leeds at Anfield.
He underwent an 11-hour operation to repair a life-threatening rip in the main artery to his heart, a condition known as dissection of the aorta.
Since then he has made a good recovery and has forged a close relationship with doctors at the hospital, which he still visits for check-ups.
Tommy Smith, a close friend of Joey's, today said: "About a month ago I spoke to Joey who said he had problems with his heart.
"He said one of the tubes to his heart was getting blocked and he needed an operation to replace a valve.
"He is a personal friend of mine, a lovely fella who's usually as fit as a fiddle. It just shows this can happen to anyone.
"I spoke to him on Monday and he said he didn't feel too bad. "He seemed a bit nervous, but he's a strong lad."