Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Joe Kinnear has been living with dementia since 2015, his wife has revealed.
The 74-year-old was diagnosed with an early onset of vascular dementia six years ago, after his family noticed unusual ‘aggressive behaviour’ from him.
Kinnear’s condition has massively deteriorated since the diagnosis, which has led his partner Bonnie to reveal the ‘heartbreaking’ extent of how he has been living with it.
In an interview with The Telegraph, she said: “He started to get moody – a bit depressed. I thought, ‘This isn’t right’.
“Then he got aggressive in certain situations. It just wasn’t Joe. It was a problem trying to get him to see somebody but we eventually got him to a doctor and he was diagnosed in 2015.
“They classed it as early-onset vascular dementia and, since then, he has just deteriorated. He’s in the late stage. It is heartbreaking to see how someone can change.
“He was larger than life. He loved people. He’d walk in a pub, buy everyone a drink, tell funny stories and be the life and soul of the party.”
Kinnear’s career as a player spanned over 10 years, with the bulk of that spent in North London at Spurs and a final season at Brighton.
He amassed 196 appearances for Tottenham, and won the FA Cup, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup during the 1971/72 campaign.
Following his retirement at the age of 30, Kinnear entered football management, with his last role as a director of football at Newcastle United in 2014.
It was a year later in which he was diagnosed with dementia, joining a list of fellow ex-professionals from the likes of Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles and Martin Peters.
As such, Bonnie Kinnear believes more must be done by the relevant organisations in football to assist former players who have been diagnosed with the condition.
Bonnie added: “I’ve been greatly saddened to see so many former players battling dementia.
“It’s just awful. They insure footballers against breakages, so why not against dementia? There must be enough money in football to help those who need it.
“And they must take further steps to make the game safer for those playing now and in the future. More has to be done in both areas. This is not about us – it’s about the whole of football.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is such sad news regarding former Spurs man Kinnear, and he has only been added to a growing list of former football players who have been diagnosed with such a horrible neurological condition.
There is no doubt that various organisations are helping those who have been diagnosed with dementia, but there should be a greater awareness pushed by the relevant groups in sport.
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