Ex-Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear, 74, battling late stages of dementia, reveal heartbroken family as they demand support

FORMER Wimbledon and Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear is battling the 'late stages' of dementia, his family have revealed.

And Kinnear’s ‘heartbroken’ relatives want more support for ex-footballers, linking his 2015 dementia diagnosis to heading the ball as a player.

The former tactician played for both Tottenham and Brighton, making 212 league appearances between 1965 and 1976.

Kinnear was also an international for the Republic of Ireland, winning 26 caps.

The ex-defender led Spurs to the 1967 FA Cup, as well as two League Cups and the 1972 UEFA Cup.

After hanging up his boots, Kinnear went on to have a career in the dugout, managing Wimbledon and Newcastle – as well as Nottingham Forest and Luton Town.

But on Wednesday his family revealed Kinnear’s long-running dementia battle, with wife Bonnie telling the Telegraph: “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.”

In a further statement, Kinnear’s family urged football authorities to provide more support for ex-players following a surge of retirees being diagnosed with dementia.

It read: “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.”

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