Former Doncaster Rovers star's anger over World Cup winning dad's battle with dementia to be revealed in BBC show

England World Cup legend Nobby Stiles and his son John, who played for Doncaster Rovers from 1989-92.
England World Cup legend Nobby Stiles and his son John, who played for Doncaster Rovers from 1989-92.

England 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles' battle with dementia is to be revealed on TV this weekend - by his angry son and former Doncaster Rovers ace John Stiles.

The former footballer's sad plight will be told as part of Alan Shearer, Dementia, Football and Me this Sunday - with the World Cup winning hero's story featuring prominently in the show.

The 75-year-old Manchester United legend, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and who suffers from vascular dementia and Alzheimer's struggles to recognise his own family, including son John, who played for Leeds and also spent three years at Doncaster Rovers during his career.

In the programme it is revealed that Nobby, who became famous for dancing with the Jules Rimet trophy after England's Wembley win more than 50 years ago, is one of three players from the victorious squad suffering from dementia, with Martin Peters and Ray Wilson also affected.

John tells presenter Alan Shearer he is angry that nothing is being done and said: “It’s not treated like a disease, it’s treated as old age, so you’ve got to cover the cost yourself.

"All these families, as well as watching their loved one disappear, have got no help.

“Most of them have had to sell their homes to pay for their care. If that has been caused by heading the ball, then that is a disgrace.”

Growing evidence of a link between heading and dementia has been emerging - and Shearer is unhappy with the football authorities’ response to the problem.

He said: “Nowhere near enough research has been done. Clearly the authorities have been very reluctant to find out any answers.

“They have swept it under the carpet, which is not good enough.

“Football must look after old players with dementia and put an end to this sense that once you are done playing, you can be put on the scrapheap.

“It’s a tough game, it’s a brilliant game, but we have to make sure it’s not a killer game.”

Experts have suspected heading may cause brain damage and dementia for decades but a firm link was not made until the inquest into the death of England striker Jeff Astle in 2002.

A coroner found the West Bromwich Albion star died from a form of dementia called CTE, known as boxer’s brain, caused by heading footballs.

His daughter Dawn said: “In any other industry, that landmark inquest decision would have prompted a tidal wave of change, but not in football.”

In the 15 years since, neither the FA nor FIFA have funded any meaningful research into the dangers of heading footballs.

Stiles' World Cup medal and a European Cup medal were bought by Manchester United for more than £200,000 at an auction in 2010. He sold the medals so that his family could benefit from the proceeds.

He was too ill to attend a celebration dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of England's 1966 World Cup win last year.

• Alan Shearer, Dementia, Football and Me airs on BBC1 on Sunday at 10.30pm.