Gordon McQueen joins some famous names who are battling dementia

PA Sport staff

Former Scotland, Manchester United and Leeds defender Gordon McQueen has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, his family have confirmed.

Several former players have battled the condition, prompting the Football Association to support two ongoing research studies examining ex-professionals for early signs of neurocognitive degeneration.

England World Cup winners Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton, Ray Wilson and Martin Peters are among those to have died from the disease.

Here the PA news agency takes a look at some of the former players known to be battling dementia.

Jimmy Calderwood, 65

Rugby Union – 2008 Bank Of Scotland Corporate Autumn Test – Scotland v Canada – Pittodrie Stadium
Jimmy Calderwood guided Aberdeen to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup (Simon Price/PA)

In August 2017 former Aberdeen boss Calderwood, who guided the club to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup and a Scottish Cup final, announced he was being treated for early onset dementia. His son Scott told the Aberdeen Press & Journal last year that his father was “OK just now” and “coping” with his condition.

Sir Bobby Charlton, 83

Sir Bobby Charlton File Photos
Sir Bobby Charlton is one of five members of England’s World Cup-winning side to be diagnosed with dementia (PA)

Another World Cup winner with England, the Manchester United stalwart is one of England’s greatest ever players. His diagnosis was made public in November last year with his wife, Lady Norma, saying she hoped the information would raise awareness of the condition and help others who are suffering with it.

Chris Chilton, 77

Hull City – Chris Chilton – 1962
Chris Chilton signed for Hull as a teenager (PA)

Hull’s record goalscorer has both dementia and Alzheimer’s and requires full-time care. A fundraising campaign launched by his family last year raised £30,000 in just a few days towards the costs. Chilton joined City in 1960 and scored 222 goals in 11 years at the club.

Gordon Cowans, 62

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Aston Villa v Southampton – Villa Park
Gordon Cowans made more than 400 appearances for Villa and was later part of the club’s coaching staff (Nick Potts/PA)

Cowans, a European Cup winner who made more than 400 appearances for Aston Villa across two spells with the club, was diagnosed with early onset dementia in March last year. Cowans told the Daily Mail in November that while the condition had only had a limited impact on him until that point, he knew “what is coming” having seen his friend and former team-mate Chris Nicholl battle against it.

Chris Nicholl, 74

Walsall v Aston Villa – Pre-Season Friendly – Banks’s Stadium
Chris Nicholl, pictured at a Walsall pre-season match in 2019 (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Northern Ireland international Nicholl won two League Cups with Aston Villa, captaining the side in the mid-1970s, before playing more than 200 games for Southampton between 1977 and 1983. He later moved into management with the south-coast club and then Walsall, before a stint as assistant manager in the late 1990s with Northern Ireland, under the man who signed him for Saints – Lawrie McMenemy. Last summer fans raised money to replace a vital tracker watch for Nicholl after his was stolen.

Gordon McQueen, 68

Gordon Mcqueen
Gordon McQueen, won a League title with Leeds and the FA Cup at Manchester United (PA)

McQueen’s family said they were making his diagnosis, first made in January, public in order to raise awareness of the condition. McQueen played 30 times for Scotland and won the English First Division with Leeds and FA Cup at Manchester United.

Jimmy Millar, 86

The family of former Rangers striker Jimmy Millar went public with his diagnosis in May 2017, by which point he had already been suffering with it for a decade. Millar scored 162 goals for the Ibrox club, forming a famous partnership with Ralph Brand.

Ernie Moss, 71

Moss made more than 500 appearances with his hometown club Chesterfield across three spells, scoring a record 191 goals. In a career lasting more than two decades he clocked up 749 league appearances with 10 different clubs, earning him a place in the Football League’s top 20 all-time list. Last year his family revealed Moss has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia called Pick’s Disease.

Jimmy Robson, 82

Soccer – Football League Division One – Burnley FC Photocall – Turf Moor
jimmy Robson was part of Burnley’s First Division-winning side of 1960 (PA)

Seven members of Burnley’s First Division-winning side from 1960 were diagnosed with dementia and six – including Ray Pointer and Jimmy McIlroy – have since died with the condition. Former target man Robson continues to fight it, with his daughter Dany campaigning for more to be done.

Dave Watson, 74

Soccer – Capital One Cup – Final – Manchester City v Sunderland – Wembley Stadium
Dave Watson was an FA Cup winner with Sunderland (Nick Potts/PA)

Watson, capped 65 times by England, was a member of Sunderland’s FA Cup-winning side of 1973 and later lifted the League Cup with Manchester City. In February 2020 his wife Penny revealed he had been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease which his consultant believed to be chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – the condition which killed Jeff Astle in 2002.

From Our Partners