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Former Blackburn player and coach Tony Parkes diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Parkes, 70, spent 34 years at Ewood Park both as a player and a member of the coaching staff.

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Former Blackburn caretaker-boss Tony Parkes has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (PA Wire)

Former Blackburn caretaker-boss Tony Parkes has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (PA Wire)

Former Blackburn caretaker-boss Tony Parkes has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (PA Wire)

Former Blackburn player and coach Tony Parkes has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter Natalie has revealed.

Parkes, 70, spent 34 years at Ewood Park both as a player and a member of the coaching staff, taking the caretaker manager role on six separate occasions.

He played an integral role in Blackburn’s 1995 Premier League title win under Kenny Dalglish, but in an interview with BBC Radio Lancashire, Parkes’ daughter Natalie said he can now recall little about the glory days.

She said: “It’s changed a lot for my dad. The words aren’t there, the memories aren’t always there.

“It’s sad because we’re watching these matches on the TV and he can’t always remember the details like he used to be able to.

“He used to remember everything about Blackburn, about when Kenny (Dalglish) was there, and how at every away match they’d be playing practical jokes on each other.

“It’s hard now because those memories have gone.”

Parkes left Blackburn in 2004 and went on to join the coaching staff at Blackpool, serving the Seasiders as caretaker manager after Simon Grayson’s departure, before he left in May 2009.

Natalie added: “I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I lost my dad before Christmas.

“This Tony Parkes is different. He’s still got the glimmers there now and then, but it’s not the same person I grew up with.”

Grayson, who has been back in charge at Bloomfield Road since last summer, told club media: “It’s terrible news about Tony suffering from this horrible illness. It puts things into a lot of perspective when you hear news like this.

“Tony was a massive part of my first time here – the experience that he brought to the table, to everything that we did together.

“We wish him a massive good luck with everything and our thoughts are with his family.”

PA