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Tommy Cassidy fighting his biggest battle PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Thursday, 07 January 2021

tommy cassidy 3.pngFormer Workington Reds manager Tommy Cassidy is the latest ex-footballer to be diagnosed with Alzheimers.

His wife Rose has revealed the former Newcastle and Norther Ireland star’s battle with the disease while speaking to the Belfast Telegraph.

In a frank, honest and emotional interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Rose spoke about how the irreversible, progressive brain disorder, which is the most common type of dementia in the UK, has impacted on 70-year-old Tommy who, having been diagnosed with the illness in 2017.

He now only has a 'very short memory span' and she feels that fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have increased worry and that his condition has become "progressively worse".

Tommy, who played 180 games for Newcastle (where he lives), is still regarded as a hero on Tyneside and news of his illness has brought many messages of support.

It’s particularly poignant in the north east as Newcastle legend Alan Shearer fronted a much-praised documentary on the links to dementia through heading a football-particularly the old, heavy leather balls that players in Tommy’s era had to contend with.

The Daily Mail is currently spear-heading a campaign for more research into dementia and its links with football, severely criticising the lack of action over the years from the Professional Footballers Association.

Scores of footballers -inclutommy cassidy 1.pngding several recently who played in Workington’s League days – have suffered dementia/alzheimers in their closing years.

Tommy Cassidy was signed by Newcastle from his home city club Glentoran and went on to play Burnley for APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus before retiring.

He earned 24 caps for Northern Ireland and was in the team at the 1982 World Cup in Spain which reached the second round.

Having helped Burnley to the Third Division title before travelling to Spain, Cassidy brought his Football League career to a close in 1983, before moving to play in Cyprus, where he won the Cup and the Super Cup with APOEL.

He later managed the club, leading them to the Cypriot League Championship, but left when he blew the whistle on high-level corruption in the game.

Back home in Belfast he managed Ards, Glentoran and Sligo Rovers before enjoying his most successful spell as a boss with Workington from 2001 to 2007 during which time he guided the Reds to promotion to the Northern Premier League in 2004, and runners-up spot the following season saw the club promoted to the Football Conference North Division.

He left after receiving an attractive offer to manage Newcastle Blue Star on his doorstep, but that didn’t work out and he later managed Whitby Town and Blyth Spartans – yet always hankered after another role at Workington.

Tommy will last have been heard by Cumbrian football fans working for BBC Radio Cumbria with a summarising role at Carlisle United matches

Reds fans will doubtless be sending their support to Rose (who was a familiar figure at Workington matches) with best wishes to  Tommy in his battle with Alzheimers.

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