Middlesbrough legend, Alan Peacock has announced that he was diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in 2018.
Peacock scored 141 goals in 238 matches for Middlesbrough in a ten-year stint between 1954-1964 before going on to play for Leeds United and Plymouth Argyle, despite suffering a series of injuries at both clubs which ultimately forced him to retire at just 30 years-old.
The now 83 year-old also earned six international caps for England during which he scored three goals and his first Three Lions call-up came for the 1962 FIFA World Cup, which England lost 3-1 to Brazil in Quarter-Finals.
Since retiring, Peacock went on to become a familiar face in his hometown as a newsagent owner and often now is regularly seen in Boro’s hospitality lounge as a host and tour guide.
Recent days have seen respective Manchester United and Liverpool legends, Denis Law and Terry McDermott announce that they are suffering from Dementia, which “saddens” Peacock who has kept his own battle with Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease secret until now.
These last few years has seen debates rage in football about the weight of the balls and wet conditions potentially contributing to the increase in former players suffering from Dementia, yet Peacock isn’t sure about the possible links despite describing headers as like “heading a cannonball at times!”
Peacock went on to admit that a part of him does “actually feel lucky” in that his career finished when it did, fearing that “if I had carried on playing, I might have been affected at a much younger age.”
He also revealed that he wouldn’t of changed a thing about his career, as he said: “Having said that, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the game and am extremely proud to have been fortunate enough to play for my hometown, the mighty Leeds United and of course, my country.”
With a difficult path lying ahead as he fights Dementia, Peacock iterated that he enjoys visiting the Riverside Stadium for home matches now lockdown is over and getting involved with club activities as he vowed to continue to “intend to stay, positive.”
Reflecting on his battle so far, Peacock noted that “there are naturally good days and bad. The good days far outweigh the bad at the moment and I’m hoping it stays that way for a long time to come.”
Peacock also addressed rumours about his health by stating that his condition is “progressing slowly”, whilst hoping that this public acknowledgement will help to “raise awareness and encourage further research and support for everyone affected by this terrible, progressive disease.”