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Former Ireland international Joe Kinnear battling dementia

Former Republic of Ireland international Joe Kinnear is suffering with dementia.  His wife Bonni...
Cathal Mullaney
Cathal Mullaney

17.19 22 Sep 2021


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Former Ireland international J...

Former Ireland international Joe Kinnear battling dementia

Cathal Mullaney
Cathal Mullaney

17.19 22 Sep 2021


Share this article


Former Republic of Ireland international Joe Kinnear is suffering with dementia. 

His wife Bonnie says he was first diagnosed in 2015 and his condition has since deteriorated.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she revealed his condition - and how it has progressed in recent times.

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“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.”

Now aged 74, Kinnear is well-known for his time as a player and a manager in the English game.

He played with Tottenham from 1966 to 1975, winning the FA Cup as well as the UEFA Cup and two League Cups.

Following his departure from north London, he had a brief stint with Brighton.

On the international front, he made a total of 26 appearances with the Republic of Ireland across eight years.

He also enjoyed a high profile in management, best known for a seven-year spell with Wimbledon in the 1990s.

More recently, he had two periods at Newcastle, the second of which was as Director of Football in 2013, before resigning in early 2014.

A number of former footballers have been diagnosed with neurological conditions, including Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.

Bonnie Kinnear says she is 'greatly saddened to see so many players suffering with such illnesses.

“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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