Ex-Aston Villa midfielder Gordon Cowans has vowed to savour the good times as he battles with Alzheimer’s.
The former England international was diagnosed with the disease in March.
Cowans, who won the European Cup with Villa in 1982, is one of many former players with a dementia illness, with Sir Bobby Charlton diagnosed earlier this month and fellow World Cup winner Nobby Stiles, who died in October, also having suffered from it.
Cowans, who was youth team and first team coach at Villa, has opened up on his diagnosis for the first time and is trying to enjoy a normal life.
The 62-year-old told the Daily Mail: “Did it come as a shock? I am not sure it did. I have never had the best of memories but you begin to realise that the constant, same old issues must be more than just a coincidence.
“My family pushed hard for me to get tested because of the worry it was causing and I am glad they did. Now we know what is wrong, we can make the best of the ‘good time’ I have.
“To begin with, I laughed it off. But there are only so many times in an hour you can misplace your glasses or wallet, without thinking that there might be something wrong.
“Although, I should say, the wallet one worked in my favour, particularly when it was my round.
“I know what this disease is all about. I have watched my friend and former Villa colleague, Chris Nicholl, bravely battle it for years, so I know what is coming.
“Big Chris has fought it in the same way he played the game, with a no-nonsense approach, but it’s not a fair opponent. It plays dirty and, until there is a treatment, it will be the only winner.”