Former Wimbledon and Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear has been living with dementia since 2015 and is in the ‘late stages’ of the condition, reveals wife Bonnie as she calls on football officials to ramp up efforts to tackle the disease 

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  • Joe Kieran, who plays for Spurs and Brighton, is living with dementia
  • His wife Bonnie said he was diagnosed with ‘aggressive’ behavior in 2015
  • She said it has been learned that she is in the ‘late stages’ of the condition and is ‘worsening’
  • Boney wants more to be done in football amid huge increase in disease cases

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Former Tottenham defender Joe Kinnear has been living with dementia for the past six years, his wife has revealed – with the ex-Newcastle boss currently in the ‘late stages’ of the illness.

Bonnie Kinnear told the Telegraph that the 74-year-old was diagnosed with the condition in 2015 after acting ‘aggressive and moody’ – something that surprised her as her husband was a ‘larger than life character’.

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Kinnear eventually saw a doctor and was later told he had early vascular dementia, but has now admitted to the heartbreaking fact that his condition had worsened.

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Former Tottenham defender Joe Keener has been living with dementia for the past six years

Kinnear (pictured with Jimmy Greaves) played over 250 games for the Lillywhites

Kinnear (pictured with Jimmy Greaves) played over 250 games for the Lillywhites

‘He started getting moody – a little sad. I thought, “That’s not right”, she said.

‘Then he became aggressive in certain situations. It just wasn’t Joe. Trying to show her to someone was a problem, but we eventually took her to a doctor and she was diagnosed in 2015.

‘He classified it as early-onset vascular dementia and since then, he just got worse. He is in late stage. It’s heartbreaking to see how someone can change.

‘He was larger than life. He loved people. He would walk into a pub, buy everyone a drink, tell funny stories and become the life and soul of the party.’

The 74-year-old - who also managed Newcastle - was diagnosed after 'aggressive' behavior

The 74-year-old – who also managed Newcastle – was diagnosed after ‘aggressive’ behavior

It comes after a worrying increase in the number of former football players being diagnosed with dementia, including Dennis Law and Terry McDermott.

After Kinnear retired as a player, he turned his hand to management and enjoyed great heights with Wimbledon before spells with Luton, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle, while his last role at St James’s Park in 2014 as Director of Football.

Just a year after leaving the Magpies, the former Republic of Ireland was diagnosed with dementia to join a long list of footballers who suffered from the disease. World Cup winners Noby Styles, Jack Charlton, Ray Wilson and Martin Peters have died after suffering from dementia.

Don Astle, 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 condition characterized by a bar on the head. It was a state of mind caused by repeated blows. .

Kinnear (third from right), who won the UEFA Cup in 1971, is in the late stages of illness, his wife has revealed

Kinnear (third from right), who won the UEFA Cup in 1971, is in the late stages of illness, his wife has revealed

Bonnie Kinnear calls on football officials to support former players and protect youngsters

Bonnie Kinnear calls on football officials to support former players and protect youngsters

Sir Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, Terry McDermott and Gordon McQueen are all living with degenerative neurological conditions and Bonnie Kinnear said: ‘I am deeply saddened to see so many former players battling dementia.

‘It’s just awful. They insure footballers against breakdown, so why not against dementia? There should be enough money in football to help those who need it.

‘And they should take more steps to make the game safer for those playing now and in the future. There is more to be done in both areas. It’s not about us – it’s about the whole football.’

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