'Hallelujah! John Tudor!'

Last updated : 03 April 2019 By Footy Mad - Editor

It was hard to take any positives from Newcastle's Boxing Day defeat at Liverpool. It was a 4-0 hammering, after all. But something special happened in the away end when a chorus of 'Hallelujah! John Tudor!' broke out at Anfield after 10 minutes.

Image result for john tudor newcastle

You had to go back quite a while for the last time the chant was previously sung and there was a heartwarming reason behind this festive rendition.

On Christmas Eve, Tudor's son, Jonathan, appealed to fans to give his Dad the ultimate tribute after revealing he had been 'struggling with his memory' in an emotional Facebook post.

Unbeknown to the wider public, the 72-year-old had been diagnosed with dementia more than a decade previously and, slowly, his interest in the game he once loved is fading. Writing that sentence just does not feel right.

This was a striker who scored 74 goals in seven seasons at St James' Park in the '70s, forming one of Newcastle's great strike partnerships alongside Malcolm Macdonald. A man who never tired of regaling tales about the Magpies' march to the 1974 FA Cup final. A pioneer who moved to the US to get youngsters playing the game.

Tudor was reunited with Supermac on a previous visit to the north-east in 2017.

Image result for john tudor newcastle

On Boxing Day, more than 4,000 miles away from Anfield, those memories came flooding back to Tudor in his Minnesota home.

"We were all very emotional in the house at the time. It was a shame that the chant happened just as Liverpool scored but there were a few tears in the house that day," son Jonathan told ChronicleLive.

"The die-hard Geordies still have an affection and still remember their former players in that way. It's really nice. That was very special and brought a tear to his eye.

"He's at a point now where he has started to not watch as much football as he used to. When I go see him and the Premier League's on and he's doing his puzzles, it's hard to take. The Geordie people brought him closer to the game again, gave him that connection, kind of stopped him from ageing for a minute which was wonderful."

Tudor's mother, Edith, also had Alzheimer's and as well a possible hereditary link, the family are looking into whether heading the ball as a player also had an effect.

Tudor, naturally, headed a lot of the heavier balls as a centre forward
Because of the disease, Tudor does not drive anymore and has become more withdrawn, discovering a passion for jigsaw puzzles and Sudoku. But 'JT' still pops along to watch his granddaughter, Brianna, training with CC United every week.

"He doesn't get involved because he can't get the words out," Tudor's wife, Anne, told ChronicleLive. "The thing is he knows that as well. That's the hard thing.

"This morning, he got up and said, 'There's something wrong. My head hurts.' When he's talking, the words do not come out and it must be terrible. It's heartbreaking. It's good and bad days, really."