Ex-Ipswich Town striker John Deehan battling dementia

John Deehan in action for Ipswich Town at Portman Road in 1986

John Deehan in action for Ipswich Town at Portman Road in 1986 - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town striker John Deehan has spent the past six years battling dementia, his family has revealed.

The 64-year-old played for the Blues between 1986 and 1988 and made nearly 400 top-level appearances during a 15-year career.

His wife Linda has revealed his struggles with serious illness over the last few years.

Deehan's wife Linda revealed his diagnosis

Deehan's wife Linda revealed his diagnosis - Credit: Archant

She explained how her husband still loves to talk about football, but naturally has issues with memory.

In a heartfelt statement, Linda asked for consideration for the whole family.

She said: “Now seems like the right time to inform you that for several years my husband John Deehan, former Aston Villa, WBA, Norwich City and Ipswich Town centre-forward has been battling a neurodegenerative disease,” said Linda Deehan in a statement.

“John’s consultant has concluded that he has Dementia, namely Alzheimer’s Disease. John was only 58 years old at the time.

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“John has good days and bad days. He endeavours to continue to live and enjoy a normal life, as best as possible, however almost every day we are confronted with a new challenge.

Deehan also played for Norwich City and was appointed manager in 1994

Deehan also played for Norwich City and was appointed manager in 1994 - Credit: Archant

“If you come across him at a match or elsewhere, please don’t be afraid to interact with him.

“Please understand that John may not be able to converse in the way he once did, but he still loves to talk about football and share a laugh.

“Please be considerate if he is having a bad day and struggling. This disease plays tricks on his memory, so he may not be able to remember accurately, and he may find signing autographs a challenge.

“Even though things have not ended as we had planned, we continue to live our lives as best we can.”

Deehan made 49 league appearances for Ipswich Town in his two years with the club after joining from East Anglian rivals Norwich City.

He left after scoring 11 league goals to join Manchester City.

Deehan returned to Norfolk to manage Norwich for a brief spell in 1994.