Former Wigan Athletic boss has neurodegenerative disease
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The 64-year-old made close to 400 top-level appearances between 1975 and 1990 before moving into management, but now his wife Linda has revealed his struggles with serious illness.
Linda Deehan explained how husband John still loves to talk about football, but naturally has issues with memory.
In a heartfelt statement, Linda Deehan asked for consideration for the whole family.
"Now seems like the right time to inform you that for several years my husband John Deehan has been battling a neurodegenerative disease," said Linda Deehan in a statement.
"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.
"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."