Former Wolves captain Mike Bailey has been diagnosed with dementia.
Bailey made 436 appearances for Wolves, scoring 25 goals. He captained the club when they reached the 1972 UEFA Cup final and won the League Cup in 1974.
The 78-year-old also played for Charlton Athletic, who he later managed, and won two caps for England.
His family decided to make his diagnosis public in a bid to highlight the ongoing issues and support investigations around the number of ex-footballers suffering from dementia.
Bailey is chairman of the Wolves Former Players’ Association. Its vice-chairman, former Wolves striker John Richards, described Bailey as a “magnificent player and inspirational leader”.
Richards said: “We share in the sadness that many people will feel that Mike has been diagnosed with dementia and send our love and best wishes to his wife Barbara and the whole Bailey family.
“We are also inspired once again by Mike that he and the family have decided to take the courageous decision to make this diagnosis public, in the hope of highlighting the issue further at a time when so many former footballers are being affected by this terrible disease.
“The Wolves Former Players’ Association are fully behind all of the work being done by people like Dawn Astle and so many others to encourage further research into the condition, and to support all those players who have been affected and their families.
“Myself and several other former players are in regular contact with Mike, Barbara and the family, and I spoke to them over the weekend to say that we will continue to offer all of our love and support in any way that we can.”
England 1966 World Cup-winner Nobby Stiles passed away last month following a long battle with dementia.
His former England team-mates Jack Charlton, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson also battled against the disease before their deaths.
Charlton’s brother, Sir Bobby, has recently been diagnosed with the illness.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has called for restrictions on heading in training and says a game-wide strategy is urgently needed for dealing with dementia and neurodegenerative diseases in football.
It has asked for clubs, leagues and the Football Association to create a coordinated strategy to measure, monitor and adapt training, identifying protections that can make a difference to the long-term health of players.
The FA is promising to invest in research to determine whether there is a link between heading the ball and brain injury diseases. The governing body’s guidance is that children under the age of 12 should not be heading the ball.