| 3.8°C Dublin

sad news Family of former Ireland international Joe Kinnear reveal ‘heartbreaking’ dementia diagnosis

Close

Joe Kinnear. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Joe Kinnear. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Joe Kinnear. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Joe Kinnear’s family have revealed the former Republic of Ireland player has been living with dementia since 2015.

The 74-year-old spent more than a decade as a player, notably winning the FA Cup, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup and 26 Ireland caps during his time with Tottenham between 1966 and 1975.

He went on to managed Wimbledon and Newcastle in a successful management career.

Kinnear’s wife Bonnie has confirmed her husband, who was forced to retire at the age of 30, was diagnosed with early onset vascular dementia in 2015 and his condition has since deteriorated.

In an interview with the Daily 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.”

Close

30 October 1974; Republic of Ireland players, from left to right, Terry Mancini, Mick Martin, Joe Kinnear, Don Givens, Ray Treacy and Paddy Roche, stand together for the national anthem ahead of the Euro '76 qualifier at Dalymount Park. Picture credit: Connolly Collection / SPORTSFILE

30 October 1974; Republic of Ireland players, from left to right, Terry Mancini, Mick Martin, Joe Kinnear, Don Givens, Ray Treacy and Paddy Roche, stand together for the national anthem ahead of the Euro '76 qualifier at Dalymount Park. Picture credit: Connolly Collection / SPORTSFILE

30 October 1974; Republic of Ireland players, from left to right, Terry Mancini, Mick Martin, Joe Kinnear, Don Givens, Ray Treacy and Paddy Roche, stand together for the national anthem ahead of the Euro '76 qualifier at Dalymount Park. Picture credit: Connolly Collection / SPORTSFILE

After Kinnear retired as a player, he turned his hand to management and enjoyed plenty of highs with Wimbledon, winning manager of the year after a sixth-place finish in 1994, before spells with Luton, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle, while his last role was in 2014 as director of football at St James’ Park.

He was also a regular pundit on RTE, including a stint on the panel alongside former teammates John Giles and Eamon Dunphy during Ireland’s World Cup run at USA ‘94.

Just a year after leaving the Magpies, the Dubliner was diagnosed with dementia to join a long list of footballers to have suffered with the disease. Former Ireland boss Jack Charlton and his fellow English World Cup winners Nobby Stiles, Ray Wilson and Martin Peters have died after suffering from dementia.

Dawn Astle, the daughter of former West Brom forward Jeff Astle, has campaigned tirelessly for greater recognition of the issue since her father’s death in 2002 at the age of 59 was attributed to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition caused by repeated blows to the head.

Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Terry McDermott and Gordon McQueen are all living with degenerative neurological conditions and Bonnie Kinnear added, “I’ve been greatly saddened to see so many former players battling dementia.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“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.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy